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Zambia seeks similar terms from all creditors on debt suspension - FinMin

Zambia is seeking similar terms from all its creditors under a requested suspension of its debt, its finance minister told parliament on Thursday, as one of the world's largest copper producers faces a sovereign default.

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LUSAKA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Zambia is seeking similar terms from all its creditors under a requested suspension of its debt, its finance minister told parliament on Thursday, as one of the world's largest copper producers faces a sovereign default.

The address came after Zambia missed payment of a $42.5 million coupon on one of its Eurobonds that was due on Wednesday. It has a 30-day "grace period" where it can still do so, but rating agency Fitch said on Thursday it expected the country to default on government debt in the coming months.

Zambia's bonds fell heavily for a second day running, with all down between 2.1 and 2.5 cents on the dollar, leaving them worth roughly 40% of their face value. ZM082877959=, 988895AE8=.

"The government has requested all its external creditors to agree to debt service suspension on the similar terms," Finance Minister Bwalya Ng'andu told lawmakers.

Zambia's external public debt burden amounts to nearly $12 billion, with $3 billion of outstanding Eurobonds, $3.5 billion of bilateral debt, $2.9 billion of other commercial debt and $2.1 billion owed to multilaterals.

Some $3 billion of public debt is owed to China.

Bondholders rejected an original request to delay interest payments on its Eurobonds until April 2021. They said the government had not laid out or discussed its plans with them, or said whether its other key lenders such as China had also agreed to accept a delay payments.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Writing by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Joe Bavier, Catherine Evans and Pravin Char)

((promit.mukherjee@thomsonreuters.com; +27 64833 4448;))

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