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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Venezuela just defaulted, moving deeper into crisis

Venezuela, a nation spiraling into a humanitarian crisis, has missed a debt payment. It could soon face grim consequences.

The South American country defaulted on its debt, according to a statement issued Monday night by S&P Global Ratings. The agency said the 30-day grace period had expired for a payment that was due in October.
A debt default risks setting off a dangerous series of events that could exacerbate Venezuela's food and medical shortages.
If enough holders of a particular bond demand full and immediate repayment, it can prompt investors across all Venezuelan bonds to demand the same thing. Since Venezuela doesn't have the money to pay all its bondholders right now, investors would then be entitled to seize the country's assets -- primarily barrels of oil -- outside its borders.
Venezuela has no other meaningful income other than the oil it sells abroad. The government, meanwhile, has failed for years to ship in enough food and medicine for its citizens. As a result, Venezuelans are waiting hours in line to buy food and dying in hospitals that lack basic resources.
If investors seize the country's oil shipments, the food and medical shortages would worsen quickly.
"Then it's pandemonium," says Fernando Freijedo, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, a research firm. "The humanitarian crisis is already pretty dire ... it boggles the mind what could happen next."
It's not immediately clear what steps bondholders will take. Argentina went through a vaguely similar default, and its bondholders battled with the government for about 15 years until settling in 2016. Every case is different, though. READ MORE