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Venezuela in selective default, says credit ratings agency

14 November 2017

S&P cut its long-term foreign currency issuer debt rating from CC to "selective default", keeping that on its short and long-term local currency debt at C and CCC-, respectively, albeit on Credit Watch negative.

The Standard & Poor's agency has downgraded Venezuela's sovereign credit rating to "selective default" after the country missed a deadline for a $US200 million ($A280 million) bond payment.

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.

S&P says Venezuela is also overdue on four other bond payments worth a total of $420m but that the grace period has not yet expired on those payments.

President Nicolas Maduro has formed a commission to restructure Venezuela's sovereign debt and that of state oil company PDVSA.

Restrictions include a prohibition on USA entities buying any new Venezuela debt issues - usually a required step in any restructuring.

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

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.

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.

But his options are very limited.

Now, as USA sanctions cut deeper into what's left of the economy, it's increasingly unclear how Venezuela will support itself.

Venezuela in selective default, says credit ratings agency