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Venezuela in selective default, says credit ratings agency
14 November 2017, 06:39 | Hattie Nash
John Moore Getty Images
Venezuela's total external debt, which also includes loans from countries like Russian Federation and China, is thought to be as much as $140bn.
S&P's verdict came after the Venezuelan government met with worldwide creditors in Caracas but offered no concrete plan for restructuring its $150 billion debt.
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.
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.
Venezuela has been in a recession since Maduro succeeded the late president Hugo Chavez in 2013.
Previously it had Venezuela in junk bond status.
The agency says "there is a one-in-two chance that Venezuela could default again within the next three months".
The ratings agency said the South American nation had failed to make $200m (£153m) in repayments on its foreign debt.
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Vice-president El Aissami blamed USA sanctions for delays to Venezuela's debt repayments.
The US has designated vice president El Aissami himself a drug kingpin with whom US entities are barred from dealing.
"We would very likely consider any Venezuelan restructuring to be a distressed debt exchange and equivalent to default given the highly constrained external liquidity", S&P said.
Now, as United States sanctions cut deeper into what's left of the economy, it's increasingly unclear how Venezuela will support itself.
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Venezuela's envoy to the UN, Rafael Ramirez, called the meeting "illegal" and a "hostile" act "of interference" by the US.
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