S&P says Venezuela has defaulted on its debt

Ratings Agencies Cave: Venezuela Defaulted, Selectively

Venezuela begins refinancing its foreign debt

Worldwide credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has declared Venezuela to be in "selective default". The country agreed on terms with Russian Federation for restructuring about $3 billion debt, but it still owes more than $50 billion on bonds held by other creditors.

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.

S&P said Venezuela had failed to make $200 million in coupon payments for bonds due 2019 and 2024 within the allowed 30-day grace period.

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.

Yesterday, as nervous, mainly US, creditors met in Caracas to find out what might happen to the US$ Venezuelan sovereign bonds they own, S&P downgraded these to "soon-to-default" status.

Instead, the head of the Venezuelan commission, Vice-President Tareck El Aissami, read a statement blaming sanctions imposed by the United States for Venezuela's difficulties in making the payments.

The ratings agency said the South American nation had failed to make $200m (£153m) in repayments on its foreign debt. And many creditors also can't negotiate with El Aissami: He, too, is sanctioned by the US Treasury, which accuses him of drug trafficking.

There's still hope for restructuring with only some issues in peril. Nevertheless, his options are very limited.

Maduro is also under fire internationally for marginalizing the opposition, which controls the parliament, and stifling independent media.

Permanent council members Russian Federation and China boycotted the meeting, as did non-permanent members Bolivia and Egypt.

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