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14 November 2017, 07:04 | Erica Roy
Venezuela begins refinancing its foreign debt
Venezuela's total external debt, which also includes loans from countries like Russian Federation and China, is thought to be as much as $140bn.
The ratings agency said the South American nation had failed to make $200m (£153m) in repayments on its foreign debt.
President Nicolas Maduro's government had summoned creditors to Caracas for talks on Monday about restructuring Venezuela's $60 billion in outstanding bonds, but failed to present a concrete proposal. But this week, one of the country's last vestiges of normalcy was erased when credit rating firm Standard & Poor's said the country was in default.
Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has also been declared in default by rating agencies Fitch and Moody's.
Derivatives industry association ISDA said on Tuesday it has received a question from investors as to whether the Republic of Venezuela is in default due to a late payment of coupons on sovereign bonds. This was because the country failed to make a coupon payment on two of their bonds within the 30-day grace period.
Vice-president El Aissami blamed U.S. sanctions for delays to Venezuela's debt repayments.
The Venezuelan government said Monday that the country has successfully begun the process of refinancing its foreign debt during a meeting earlier in the day in Caracas with bondholders from various countries.
Restrictions include a ban on United States entities buying any new Venezuela debt issues - usually a required step in any restructuring.
Mr Aissami, who has been accused of drug trafficking by the USA, is himself on the list of Venezuelan individuals sanctioned by the U.S. treasury department.
A default can be declared either by the major ratings agencies, big debt-holders or by the government itself.
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