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


Derivatives industry association ISDA said on Tuesday it has received a question from investors as to whether the Republic of Venezuela is in default due to a late payment of coupons on sovereign bonds.

Venezuelan government representatives met with creditors to try and renegotiate the debt, an initial meeting from which no agreements or concrete proposals emerged and at which the Nicolas Maduro administration informed its creditors of its limitations to pay.

The Venezuelan government said Monday that the country has successfully begun the process of refinancing its foreign debt during a meeting earlier in the day in Caracas with bondholders from various countries.

Bondholders had told Reuters on Monday they had not yet received payments on the 2019 and 2024 bonds but remained unconcerned by the delay, which they said was partly due to increased bank vigilance of Venezuelan transactions in the wake of US sanctions. It lasted about 30 minutes, and vice president Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela's debt negotiator, mainly used the meeting as a chance to complain about Donald Trump.

Caracas has less than $10 billion left in hard currency reserves, but must make $1.4 billion in debt payments before year-end, and another $8 billion next year. 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.

Separately, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange said it was halting trading of Venezuela's 2019 and 2024 bonds due to an "event of default".

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Trump was expected to attend a dinner with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the end of the day. The two leaders did talk about the country's brutal war on drugs, which has left thousands of people dead.

There's still hope for restructuring with only some issues in peril.

Mr Aissami, who has been accused of drug trafficking by the USA, is himself on the list of Venezuelan individuals sanctioned by the U.S. treasury department.

PDVSA, in turn, relies on credit lines from global banks to finance oil production.

The Maduro government had said it would make a $1.2-billion payment on a PDVSA bond on November 2, but it was unclear if the funds ever reached creditors. Nevertheless, his options are very limited.

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