Lusaka — Zambia became the first African country to ask bondholders for relief since the onset of the coronavirus, seeking to defer interest payments on its Eurobonds as it battles the economic hit from the pandemic. The securities plunged.

The southern African nation asked for meetings on October 20 with the holders of three Eurobonds totalling $3bn to seek consent for a standstill until April 2021, to create “breathing space” as it plans a debt restructuring. Zambia’s $1bn notes due 2024 fell more than 5% in London to 52.12c on the dollar, after the government said a coupon payment due October 14 would be included in the proposed suspension...

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