Sri Lanka Deals With Bondholders

Sri Lanka has successfully negotiated a deal with Bondholders to restructure $12.6 billion worth of bonds, marking a significant step toward completing its debt overhaul two years after defaulting.

This agreement is a pivotal moment for the South Asian nation, aiming to restore financial stability and regain access to international capital markets.

The Deal’s Key Components

Investor Agreement

Investors have agreed to a 28% nominal reduction on the bonds, which was confirmed in a statement released after the conclusion of the second round of talks.

This reduction is part of a broader agreement that includes issuing notes linked to economic growth and a governance-linked bond.

These innovative financial instruments are designed to align the interests of bondholders with the country’s economic recovery, providing a more sustainable debt structure.

The Negotiation Process

The culmination of more than a year of challenging negotiations between Sri Lanka and its bondholders reflects the country’s commitment to fiscal health.

This process has been arduous, with numerous discussions and proposals exchanged to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

The successful negotiation underscores the efforts of Sri Lankan officials to rehabilitate the nation’s finances and build a foundation for future growth.

Impact on International Capital Markets

Restoring Access

The bond restructuring deal is crucial for restoring Sri Lanka’s access to international capital markets. Since the island nation defaulted in 2022, it has faced significant challenges in securing external funding.

This agreement will pave the way for Sri Lanka to tap further funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international financial institutions, providing much-needed financial support for economic recovery.

Market Response

In response to the deal, Sri Lanka’s dollar bonds due in 2030 rose 1.5 cents on the dollar to 59.1 cents in early Asian trading on Thursday.

This positive market reaction highlights investor confidence in Sri Lanka’s economic prospects following the restructuring agreement.

Last year, Sri Lanka’s dollar bonds were among the best performers in emerging markets, delivering returns of almost 70%.

Official Statements

Government’s Perspective

Junior Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe emphasized the significance of the agreement in a post on X, stating, “This agreement is a crucial step in our efforts to restore debt sustainability in the country. This marks another key milestone in our journey towards economic revival and strengthening.”

This statement reflects the government’s optimistic outlook on the country’s economic future and the potential benefits of the restructuring deal.

Bondholder Group

The ad-hoc bondholder group, which holds about 50% of the outstanding overseas bonds, includes prominent investors such as Amundi SA and BlackRock Inc.

Their involvement and agreement to the terms of the deal demonstrate a collective effort to support Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and ensure the sustainability of its debt obligations.

Broader Debt Restructuring Efforts

Deals with Official Creditors

Prior to the bondholder agreement, the Sri Lankan government had already secured debt restructuring deals with official creditors, including China, India, and the Paris Club.

These agreements were critical in laying the groundwork for the broader debt restructuring effort and demonstrated the government’s proactive approach to addressing its financial challenges.

Local Debt Restructuring

In addition to international creditors, Sri Lanka has also restructured its local debt. This comprehensive approach to debt management ensures that both domestic and international obligations are addressed, contributing to overall fiscal stability and economic resilience.

Comparison with Other Frontier Markets


Sri Lanka is not alone in its efforts to restructure debt following a sovereign default. Recently, Ghana reached a deal with bilateral creditors to rework $5.1 billion of obligations and $13 billion with private creditors.

This agreement is part of Ghana’s broader strategy to stabilize its economy and regain investor confidence.


Similarly, Zambia ended nearly four years of default on its dollar bonds earlier this year. The country successfully negotiated a restructuring deal, which has been instrumental in restoring its financial stability and enabling future economic growth.

Lessons Learned

The experiences of Sri Lanka, Ghana, and Zambia highlight the importance of proactive debt management and the need for comprehensive strategies to address financial challenges.

These countries’ efforts to negotiate with creditors and secure sustainable debt agreements offer valuable lessons for other nations facing similar economic difficulties.


The deal to restructure $12.6 billion of bonds marks a significant milestone for Sri Lanka as it seeks to restore financial stability and regain access to international capital markets.

The agreement, which includes innovative financial instruments and a 28% nominal reduction on the bonds, reflects the country’s commitment to fiscal health and economic recovery.

With positive market reactions and the support of major bondholders, Sri Lanka is poised to embark on a path toward sustainable growth and financial resilience.

This agreement is not just a critical step for Sri Lanka but also serves as an example for other frontier markets dealing with sovereign defaults.

The collective efforts of Sri Lanka, Ghana, and Zambia underscore the importance of strategic debt restructuring and international cooperation in achieving long-term economic stability.

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