Venezuela

Venezuela’s opposition-run congress said on Tuesday it will form a commission that will eventually renegotiate the country’s debt, much of which is in default, and protect the OPEC nation’s offshore assets from seizure by creditors, Reuters reported. President Nicolas Maduro’s government has defaulted on most of roughly $60 billion in foreign bonds issued by Venezuela and state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., or PDVSA, but has had minimal contact with creditors about addressing the situation. The measure follows U.S.

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With talks intensifying over Venezuela’s state oil giant potentially missing a payment in late October on the nation’s only bond not currently in default, Ashmore Group Plc has more at stake than anyone else, Bloomberg News reported. The London-based investment firm holds more than 51% of Petroleos de Venezuela’s 2020 notes, followed by BlackRock Inc. and T Rowe Price Group Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ashmore boosted its holdings last year as Nicolas Maduro’s government began defaulting on some $11 billion in debt.

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Venezuela’s opposition on Tuesday celebrated a sweeping U.S. sanctions order against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, saying the measure would protect Venezuela-owned U.S.-based refiner Citgo from seizure by creditors, Reuters reported. Three allies of opposition leader Juan Guaido also said the measure allowed for restructuring negotiations with bondholders, which had been prohibited under previous sanctions. That could be key to protecting Citgo, since half of state oil company PDVSA’s shares in the refiner were put up as collateral for its 2020 bond.

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After years of expropriations, hyperinflation, bankruptcies and financial collapse, what remains of Venezuela’s private sector might be forgiven for giving up hope, the Financial Times reported. But business people in Venezuela say the economic crisis in the South American nation has hastened moves by President Nicolás Maduro’s government away from the full-blooded socialism of his predecessor Hugo Chávez towards a freer market. “As business people we have wanted free prices and a free flow of dollars for many years,” one senior executive at a consumer goods said.

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Loans to Venezuela from President Nicolas Maduro’s allies Russia and China would be renegotiated though the Paris Club if Maduro leaves power, an advisor to the opposition said on Wednesday, responding to concerns about favourable treatment for the two countries, Reuters reported. Ricardo Hausmann, who represents opposition leader Juan Guaido at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), said Guaido’s team has not determined how loans might be restructured under its governance because bilateral debt talks typically take place under the auspices of the Paris Club creditor group.

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Who Can Pay Venezuela’s Debts?

Venezuela, and its state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, have stopped making payments on a lot of their debts. Many of these debts are in the form of bonds governed by New York law, and so bondholders have sued Venezuela in U.S. courts asking for their money back, a Bloomberg View reported. This is not, in sovereign debt cases, a foolproof approach: The court can tell Venezuela to give them their money back, but it can’t make Venezuela do it; Venezuela is its own country and doesn’t have to listen to U.S. courts.

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Creditors holding Venezuelan debt on Tuesday pushed back on debt restructuring plans backed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, urging a “fair and effective” framework for talks and improved communications with investors holding defaulted bonds, Bloomberg News reported. Creditors holding Venezuelan debt on Tuesday pushed back on debt restructuring plans backed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, urging a “fair and effective” framework for talks and improved communications with investors holding defaulted bonds.

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Venezuela’s opposition plans to treat equally creditors ensnared in the country’s $150bn web of defaulted debt if President Nicolás Maduro is removed — after weeding out inflated, fraudulent, or corrupt claims, the Financial Times reported. In a new policy paper, advisers to US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó sketch out how his administration would go about restructuring Venezuela’s huge and varied stock of debt, which includes unpaid supplier invoices, expropriation claims and defaulted bonds, among other instruments.

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Venezuela has defaulted on a gold swap agreement valued at $750 million with Deutsche Bank AG, prompting the lender to take control of the precious metal used as collateral and close out the contract, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg News reported. As part of a financing agreement signed in 2016, Venezuela received a cash loan from Deutsche Bank and put up 20 tons of gold as collateral.

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Venezuela’s opposition has hired veteran debt lawyer Lee Buchheit to help restructure the country’s more than $150 billion debt burden, suggesting it could take a tough approach to dealing with investors holding defaulted bonds, Reuters reported. Buchheit, a former Cleary Gottlieb attorney who has represented several governments in debt talks with bond investors, published an academic article last year suggesting ways for a future Venezuela government to minimize debt repayments.

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