The Bank for International Settlements said yesterday that it does not plan to give Brazil another extension on a $400 million loan repayment that falls due Friday.
The BIS move is one more complication in Brazil's desperate efforts to avoid defaulting on some of the $90 billion it owes to foreign banks and governments and international institutions such as BIS and the International Monetary Fund.
Government and bank officials worry that a default by Brazil or other troubled nations such as Mexico or Argentina could create problems for the international financial system.
The BIS had extended Brazil's repayment date twice, once from May 31 to June 30, then to July 15. BIS president Fritz Leutwiler said yesterday that the bank will extend the deadline no further. Should Brazil be unable to pay, it could be declared in default.
But officials said monetary authorities in the United States and Europe are likely to provide the funds Brazil needs to repay BIS--the central bank for European central banks. Although Brazil is behind in some of its debt payments, no lender has forced a default by demanding payment.
The Bank for International Settlements made Brazil a $1.45 billion short-term "bridge" loan last winter to tide over the country until it could negotiate longer-term packages with the IMF and the banks. Brazil reached agreement with the IMF and the banks last March.
But the IMF denied Brazil $411 million it was due to receive May 31 because Brazil was not in compliance with the terms of the IMF loan. The bankers did the same on another $700 million payment.
An IMF team now is in Brazil negotiating on the steps the government must take to reduce its need to borrow from abroad and come back into compliance with the IMF loan. Brazil was supposed to use part of the scheduled May 31 payment from the IMF and the banks to repay $400 million to the BIS.
If and when Brazil and the IMF come to agreement, the banks and the international monetary agency will give Brazil the money it was scheduled to receive May 31.
The IMF claims that Brazil has not reduced its government budget deficit sufficiently and it will not be able to do so until it takes steps to hold down the rate of wage increases. Brazil, however is in the throes of a massive recession and inflation.
Because labor and social unrest are mounting in Brazil, the government is resisting severe measures.
Brazil repaid some of the BIS bridge loan--as well as a similar loan from its biggest bank lenders--last March when it received the first installments from the IMF and bank rescue packages. If it can come to terms with the IMF, it should receive another payment on Aug. 31.