S&P declares Venezuela in 'selective default'
President Nicholas Maduro has been under pressure to come up with financial reforms as Venezuela's credit crisis deepened on Saturday. Photograph: (Reuters)
Standard & Poor's, the global rating agency, has placed debt-ridden Venezuela in the "selective default" list.
The oil-rich country failed to make payments of over $200 million to creditors by the end of a 30-day grace period that expired over the weekend.
S&P said it had downgraded the issue ratings on Venezuela's bond which it had failed to pay to D from CC and cut the country’s long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to selective default, or SD, from CC.
Although the Venezuelan government had said on Monday that it had successfully begun the process of refinancing its foreign debt during a meeting in Caracas with bondholders from various countries.
Caracas added that it has "punctually" paid $73.35 billion for debt services in the last 36 months, and hoped that the Monday's meeting will help reiterate its willingness to comply with its commitments. However, S&P did not agree completely with the government placing the country in the "default" list.
“Our CreditWatch negative reflects our opinion that there is a one-in-two chance that Venezuela could default again within the next three months,” S&P said.
Meanwhile, European Union(EU) foreign ministers approved economic sanctions, including an arms embargo on Venezuela on Monday. The EU said regional elections last month marred by reported irregularities had deepened the country's crisis.
Over the weekend, Maduro had termed imminent sanctions by the bloc as "stupid."
Venezuela has been reeling under crippling US sanctions along with the fall in global oil prices has led to large-scale economic and social downturn in the country.