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Uncertainty Looms over Venezuela’s 60 Billion Debt

Oil

Venezuelan government met with creditors on Monday to discuss a potential restructuring of its $60 billion outstanding debt, but made no firm proposals, while the possibility of restructuring is even more uncertain due to US sanctions against the nation, Reuters reports. On Tuesday S&P Global Rating declared Venezuela in default while Fitch Ratings cited missed payments by state-owned oil company PDVSA, triggering a further selloff in the nation’s bonds.

Venezuela’s outstanding debts in a period of financial crisis worsens the government’s position which now faces the dilemma of either continuing to pay its foreign debt at the expense of an increasingly hungry and sick population, or defaulting on creditors which would cripple the country’s access to financial markets and put the company’s foreign assets such as refineries at risk, devastating much needed export revenue. Venezuela’s crude output in October stood at 1.96M b/d, 6.7% or 130K b/d lower m-o-m and 20% or 413K b/d y-o-y, and the lowest production level in 28 years. The country depends on oil for the vast majority of its export revenues, with the value of its total exports in 2016 at $26.5B, from which $25.2B is attributable to petroleum exports, according to data released by OPEC.