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El Salvador repays $800 millon bond: president

El Salvador has repaid an $800 million bond maturing this week, President Nayib Bukele announced on Monday, taking aim at critics who said the country would default. He said the media had created "the narrative that El Salvador was broke and going to default." "In the past year, almost every legacy international news outlet said…

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele delivers a speech during the graduation of new military personnel, at the Captain General Gerardo Barrios Military School, in Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador, on April 4, 2022. (Photo by Marvin RECINOS / AFP)

El Salvador has repaid an $800 million bond maturing this week, President Nayib Bukele announced on Monday, taking aim at critics who said the country would default.

He said the media had created “the narrative that El Salvador was broke and going to default.”

“In the past year, almost every legacy international news outlet said that because of our ‘#Bitcoin bet’, El Salvador was going to default on its debt by January 2023 (since we had an 800 million dollar bond maturing today),” Bukele tweeted.

“Well, we just paid in full, 800 million dollars plus interest,” he said.

The president did not specify how much the country paid in principal and how much in interest.

However, part of the $800 million debt that had to be settled in January was repurchased by the Salvadoran state in two operations carried out in the second half of 2022 in order to reduce the amount of payment.

In these operations, El Salvador repurchased almost $200 million debt. According to finance ministry figures, El Salvador had to pay some $604.1 million principal for the bond due in January, plus some $23 million in interest.

Bukele has been much criticized for his decision in September 2021 to make El Salvador the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the US dollar.

At the time, the cryptocurrency was trading at about $44,000.

It hit a record of $67,734 in November 2021 but has since fallen and is now trading at about $23,000.

Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya also referred to the bond repayment.

“El Salvador meets its debt obligations,” Zelaya said.

El Salvador’s public debt exceeds 80 percent of its GDP, according to official calculations.

Part of the debt El Salvador is repaying was issued during the governments of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (1989-2004) and during the term of leftist president Mauricio Funes (2009-2014).

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