El Salvador says it has repaid $800 million bond maturing January By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: El Salvador’s Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya speaks during a news conference in San Salvador, El Salvador March 18, 2022. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – El Salvador has repaid an $800 million bond, Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya said on Monday, the same day the bond was set to mature, as the Central American country faced pressure to make progress in cutting debt.

“We announce that we have today completed payment of the 2023 bond for $800 million, plus interest,” Zelaya said on Twitter, denouncing a “disinformation campaign” in national and international media.

The presidency’s press office told Reuters the payment, which followed an earlier transaction, included $604.1 million and interest of $23.4 million. “El Salvador is meeting its debt obligations,” it said.

President Nayib Bukele has faced pressure to demonstrate healthy finances after he championed El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar in 2021.

In September, ratings agency Fitch downgraded El Salvador’s sovereign debt to “CC” from “CCC”, describing a debt default as probable.