Venezuela in 'selective default': S&P

Venezuela begins refinancing its foreign debt

Venezuela in 'selective default': S&P

"We have lowered two issue ratings to "D" (default), and we lowered the long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to "SD" (selective default)", the agency said, adding that $420 million in payments on four other bonds were also overdue, but still within the grace period. He insisted, however, the OPEC nation would continue to service its debts.

S&P said there was "a one-in-two chance that Venezuela could default again within the next three months".

"We also believe the Venezuelan government and people have the ability to handle the debt issue of their country", Geng said.

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.

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.

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

One reason Venezuela has been surprisingly steadfast in making bond payments is because the government needs to protect the credibility of state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), its last lifeline for income.

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

Venezuela's total external debt, which also includes loans from countries like Russian Federation and China, is thought to be as much as $140bn.

"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.

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