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2017-11-14 — bloomberg.com

Venezuela's grand gathering with creditors Monday lasted all of 30 minutes and didn't produce anything of substance. To make matters worse, S&P Global Ratings declared the country in default while Fitch Ratings cited missed payments by the state oil company prompting a fresh selloff in the nation's bonds.

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Very little was announced and nothing was resolved, according to attendees who said they left just as confused about the government's intentions as they were going in. Vice President Tareck El Aissami was the only official to speak, and devoted most of his prepared remarks to railing against Donald Trump and global financiers who he said have conspired to keep the country from making debt payments on time. He pledged the nation would continue to honor its obligations and work with bondholders to find new ways to get them their money, but offered no concrete proposals for restructuring.

President Nicolas Maduro had summoned holders of some $60 billion of bonds issued by the government and state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to begin a renegotiation as the nation's cash crunch worsens, sanctions make it difficult to transfer money and delayed payments pile up.

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The nation, home to the world's largest oil reserves, owed investors about $200 million and failed to make those payments by the end of a 30-day grace period, S&P said in the statement in which it lowered the country's rating to SD. Plagued with payment delays and running low on cash -- and with most of its debt trading near 30 cents on the dollar -- it's the first time in recent years the government has exceeded the buffer period on its bonds.

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Investors in Venezuela's $5 billion of bonds maturing in 2019 and 2024 can organize to demand that the nation immediately pay back all they're owed, and down the line, holders of the nation's other debt, which have cross-default provisions, could choose to do the same... they risk setting off what could be the start of one of the messiest debt restructurings ever. S&P said there was a 50 percent chance Venezuela will default again within the next three months.

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