Puerto Rico Staring at $400 Million Short-Term Squeeze
Puerto Rico is approaching an inflection point that may prove to be more challenging than the commonwealth's decision this month to skip a bond payment for the first time. After borrowing internally, omitting debt-service payments and slowing tax rebates, the island is at risk of running out of cash to fund day-to-day operations. Puerto Rico must raise $400 million through a bank loan or a sale of short-term securities by November, Victor Suarez, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla's chief of staff, said Aug. 10 in San Juan. Garcia Padilla's administration had already alienated creditors before defaulting on $58 million of bonds Aug. 3 by saying they need to restructure a $72 billion debt burden that it can no longer sustain. Puerto Rico appears to be betting that investors will provide access to capital markets again once the commonwealth unveils a debt-restructuring proposal Sept. 1.