NEW YORK, July 14 (UPI) -- Cash-strapped Puerto Rico found little support among creditors for restructuring its $72 billion debt, some of which must be repaid in July.
Representatives of the U.S. island commonwealth met Monday in New York with over 300 representatives of investment firms, hedge funds and insurance companies, but offered little information.
It was the first meeting of government officials and creditors since Gov. Alejandra Garcia Padilla acknowledged in June that Puerto Rico could not meet deadlines for debt payments on municipal bonds sold in the past decade.
Melba Acosta of Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank told the creditors they would have to accept adjusted terms of repayment, although she offered no details. Her comments followed recommendations two weeks ago by former International Monetary Fund officials, who suggested bonds should be replaced with new bonds offering later maturities and reduced debt payments.
"I ask for your patience while we develop a credible plan," she said.
"They can't go much further into negotiations without some specifics, and they're just not there yet" said Joseph Rosenblum of AllianceBernstein Holding LP, whose holdings include Puerto Rico securities.
The commonwealth has a history of balancing its budget by borrowing, as its economy has declined since 2006. In the past 10 years, its population has declined by 7 percent, as residents sought employment opportunities in the continental United States.
Among its debts are a $93.7 million payment due July 15, and another $140 million payment on Aug. 1.
"This presentation would've been better if it would've been done a long time ago," said David Tawil of the hedge fund Maglan Capital. "It was short on specifics; it was grand in generalities."