Venezuela defaults on 60 BILLION debt

Venezuela begins refinancing its foreign debt

The agency cut the country's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to selective default, or SD, from CC, and downgraded the issue ratings on the bonds to D from CC.

The ratings agency said the South American nation had failed to make $200m in repayments on its foreign debt.

Standard & Poor (S&P)'s declares a "selective default" when a country has failed to pay one or more of its financial obligations when it came due.

Yesterday the socialist government offered the sweet treats during a brief meeting in Caracas but left investors without a clear understanding of the government's strategy to renegotiate $60 billion in debt.

It is the first time in recent years the Venezuela government has exceeded the buffer period on its bonds.

The decision from the ratings agency followed the government's failure to make good on coupon payments for debt maturing in 2019 and 2024 within a 30-day grace period.

About 70 percent of Venezuelan bondholders are North American, according to government figures, while China and Russian Federation also hold a large share.

But creditors who attended the meeting told journalists that the 25-minute meeting ended without the government making any concrete proposals.

The U.S. measures essentially block the issuing of any new Venezuelan debt, while there are also sanctions on chief negotiators, Vice-President Tareck El Aissami and Economy Minister Simon Zerpa, for drug and corruption charges.

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

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.

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