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Belize to default on bond payment

The leader of the Central American nation of Belize has said his country will not make a 23 million US dollar (£14.6 million) bond payment by the deadline.

The announcement by Prime Minister Dean Barrow brings Belize a step closer to formal default on a total debt of 544 million US dollars (£346 million)

Mr Barrow said his government is unlikely to make the payment during the ensuing 30-day grace period because it simply does not have the money.

He told reporters the government expects to meet with creditors later this week.

The government has offered bondholders a harsh restructuring proposal which implies reductions in the amount owed, lower interest rates or extended repayment terms.

Belize is struggling with a heavy debt from infrastructure projects and recent nationalisation of companies.

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