Monday, December 06, 2010

Latin America and debt

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at economic problems in Europe and examines how Latin America provides lessons, particularly in terms of restructuring debt.  Two thoughts:

First, the article dances around but does not focus on the fact that it is helpful if you sell commodities that China, India, and other major countries are currently paying a premium for.  If you don't, the recovery may will be more difficult.

Second, it is interesting to see how Argentina's default and then Néstor Kirchner's debt strategy in 2005 are getting some respect, whereas at the time both received quite a lot of criticism.  But now:

Argentina's debt load shrank by one-third after the default, and it shifted into high growth. Part of the reason for that is the surge in demand for Argentine wheat, meat and other commodities, thanks to China. But partly, it's because the economy's growth wasn't stalled by overly burdensome debt payments.
"Aggressive debt defaults mean you'll be classified as a rogue debtor, you'll be excluded from capital markets—but there's the possibility you might solve your problems more quickly," says Mr. Powell.


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