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Venezuela govt says debt refinancing underway as S&P cites selective default

Venezuela govt says debt refinancing underway as S&P cites selective default”

According to the Venezuelan National Assembly's financial commission's estimates, Venezuela holds a total debt close to $150 billion, which results in an annual payments close to $10 billion, "not including what is paid to China and Russia" by various agreements.

But the country also has a total external debt thought to be as much as $140bn, including loans from countries like Russian Federation and China.

Besides the two bond payments it has defaulted on, Venezuela is overdue on four other debt payments but they were still within the 30 day grace period, S&P said.

On Monday, government officials met with creditors in Caracas in an attempt to restructure its debt.

Venezuela's debt crunch comes as no surprise, as the government cuts back on imports to service its debt, leaving the population struggling with shortages of food and medicine.

President Nicolas Maduro's government had summoned creditors to Caracas for talks on Monday about restructuring Venezuela's $60 billion in outstanding bonds, but failed to present a concrete proposal.

About 70 percent of Venezuelan bondholders are North American, according to government figures.

"We rate this meeting, in which Venezuelan debt holders from Venezuela, the United States, Panama, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Japan and Germany participated, as highly positive and very auspicious", the statement continued.

Vice-president El Aissami blamed USA sanctions for delays to Venezuela's debt repayments.

The agency said it acted after a 30-day grace period had passed on payments on two bonds.

A committee of 15 financial firms met in NY "to discuss whether a Failure to Pay Credit Event had occurred" with respect to PDVSA, but ended up postponing a decision until Tuesday.

Late Sunday, Maduro struck a defiant tone, insisting that his country would "never" default and pointing to ongoing negotiations with China and Russian Federation.

As rough as the ride has been regarding debt, Maduro is also being buffeted by worldwide accusations that he is acting as an autocrat - stomping on democracy by marginalising the opposition, which controls the parliament, and stifling independent media.



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