Puerto Rico seeks bankruptcy protection

Puerto Rico announces historic debt restructuring in court

Shown here is the capitol of the US territory in San Juan.

Puerto Rico is barred from using the same bankruptcy law provisions benefiting other USA municipalities.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) " Puerto Rico's governor has announced a historic restructuring of a portion of the US territory's $70B debt through courts after negotiations with bondholders failed.

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The move comes a day after several major creditors sued Puerto Rico over defaults its bonds. Many professionals have fled Puerto Rico's financial uncertainty to come to Springfield and other communities with sizeable Latino enclaves.

"Although a court proceeding will take considerable time and likely involve losses for all Puerto Rico bondholders, it will be an orderly process, " Hampton says.

The island's economy has been in recession for almost 10 years, with an unemployment rate of about 11 per cent, and the population has fallen by about 10 per cent in the past decade.

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It was not immediately clear just how much of Puerto Rico's roughly $70 billion of debt is included in the bankruptcy filing.

For context, when Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013, its debt level was $18 billion. Title III, which is similar to the Chapter 9 bankruptcy, allows Puerto Rico and other United States territories to restructure their debt under the supervision of a federal judge. Since 2007, the Commonwealth said it has seen a 14 percent decline in gross national product, a 23 percent decrease in employed persons and a 10 percent drop in population.

Introduced in 2016, the legal provision invoked by the governor would allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt if San Juan fails to reach an agreement with its creditors.

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