Ecuador has announced drastic measures to keep its floundering economy afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic, including scrapping seven state-owned companies, liquidating the national flag carrier and closing embassies around the world.
The Andean nation has recorded more than 34,000 coronavirus cases. Its number of deaths, at nearly 3,000, is by far the worst per capita in Latin America. In a televised address, President Lenín Moreno said Ecuador was suffering a crisis worse than “all the wars and natural disasters put together that the country has suffered throughout its history”.
Ecuador’s finances were shaky even before the coronavirus crisis, and it has been battling to put them in order. It agreed a $4.2bn package with the IMF last year as part of $10.2bn of borrowing from multilateral lenders, but struggled to implement it. The country has now negotiated a four-month reprieve from repayments with bondholders while it tries to restructure about $19bn of sovereign debt.
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