World Economy

Venezuela Seeks to Renegotiate Debt

Venezuela Seeks to Renegotiate DebtVenezuela Seeks to Renegotiate Debt

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has invited bondholders to unspecified “negotiations” over the country’s foreign debt in coming days, in response to recent US financial sanctions.

With Venezuela deep in recession and its currency reserves at their lowest in more than two decades, the Maduro government and state oil company PDVSA have to pay about $4 billion in debt and interest during the rest of 2017, Reuters reported.

 “All bondholders are invited to various rounds of negotiations over the next few weeks,” the president said in a speech to the new Constituent Assembly.

He reiterated Venezuela would keep honoring debt, but said he wanted to talk with bondholders affected by sanctions recently imposed by US President Donald Trump.

Maduro said Vice President Tareck El Aissami, already under US financial sanctions over drug trafficking allegations, and Finance Minister Ramon Lobo would coordinate talks and some “bilateral conversations” with bondholders had already begun.

Maduro said Venezuela would seek to “free” itself of the US dollar and “implement a new system of international payments” using currencies such as the yuan, yen, rupee, euro and ruble.

The president did not, however, specify whether paying in a different currency was an option his government wanted to discuss with bondholders.

The Washington-based Institute of International Finance, which represents large banks and financial institutions, said it was advising a group of holders of Venezuelan bonds.

“This week, we have already had some bilateral conversations (with creditors),” he added after emphasizing that Venezuela would honor all its debt commitments.

Maduro did not give more details of what his government wanted to discuss with bondholders or where talks would be held.

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