White House Does Damage Control After Trump’s Comment On Puerto Rico Debt Craters Bond Market

Market Watch reports:

Puerto Rico general obligation bonds, as well as bonds issued by the utility Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority were trading at alltime lows Wednesday, after President Donald Trump said the island’s debt may need to be wiped out.

“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’re going to have to wipe that out. You’re going to say goodbye to that, I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs GS, -0.54% but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that,” Trump said in a pre-recorded interview with Geraldo Rivera that aired on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night.

The 8% GO bonds due 2035 were trading below 48 cents on the dollar, according to research firm CreditSights, while the Prepa 5% notes due 2037 were trading at 42 cents on the dollar.

Politico reports:

On Wednesday, the Trump administration indicated it has no current plans to take the unprecedented, politically dangerous and probably illegal step of wiping out the owners of Puerto Rico’s bonds in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation. Trump’s own budget chief quickly walked the president’s comments back.

“I wouldn’t take it word for word with that,” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said on CNN. “We are not going to deal right now with those fundamental difficulties that Puerto Rico had before the storm.” Added Mulvaney: “Puerto Rico’s going to have to figure out how to fix the errors that it’s made for the last generation on its own finances.”