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

Venezuela just defaulted moving deeper into crisis

But Venezuela's unpaid obligations total $420 million, and four additional coupon payments are overdue but within their grace periods.

Though it has teetered on the brink for years, Venezuela recently failed to make $200 million in coupon payments on bonds worth $5 billion owed to foreign creditors, according to S&P.

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

President Nicolas Maduro's government had summoned creditors to Caracas for talks on Monday about restructuring Venezuela's $60 billion in outstanding bonds, but failed to present a concrete proposal.

Venezuela's debt crunch comes as no surprise, as the government cuts back on imports to service its debt, leaving the population struggling with shortages of food and medicine.

While placing those latter two ratings on CreditWatch, S&P added that it saw a one-in-two chance Venezuela night default again within the coming three months.

"We would very likely consider any Venezuelan restructuring to be a distressed debt exchange and equivalent to default given the highly constrained external liquidity", it said. And many creditors also can't negotiate with El Aissami: He, too, is sanctioned by the US Treasury, which accuses him of drug trafficking.

The ratings agency said the South American nation had failed to make $200m (£153m) in repayments on its foreign debt.

A meeting between Venezuela and its creditors on Monday ended without an agreement to restructure the country's debt, the same day the European Union adopted sanctions over its "political polarisation".

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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