Puerto Rico will miss a payment on debt due August 1, the governor’s chief of staff said on Friday, an event that will be considered a default by investors as the commonwealth lurches towards what could be one of the largest US municipal debt restructurings in history.
The missed payment will mark the first default by the commonwealth and shows the depth of the island’s economic and cash flow problems. Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla shocked investors in June when he said the island’s debt, totaling $72 billion, was unpayable and required restructuring.
According to a 2014 bond offering statement, Puerto Rico has never defaulted on the payment of principal or interest of debt.
“Tomorrow is Aug. 1 and we don’t have the money,” Victor Suarez, chief of staff for Puerto Rico’s governor, told journalists in San Juan, referring to a $58 million payment due on Public Finance Corporation (PFC) bonds.