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Dienstag, 9. August 2016

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(BN) Venezuela Seen Staving Off Default Again Even as Crisis Wor 


Venezuela Seen Staving Off Default Again Even as Crisis Worsens 
2016-08-09 09:00:00.1 GMT 

By Jose Enrique Arrioja 
(Bloomberg) -- Even as Venezuela’s economic collapse 
deepens, the nation has a good chance of getting through another 
year without defaulting on its bonds. 
That’s the conclusion of money managers including Aberdeen 
Asset Management and Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. 
The cash-strapped country has been on default watch for the 
past two years as oil prices remain depressed, its economy 
implodes and political turmoil worsens amid an effort to recall 
the president. Yet Venezuela has managed to scrounge up enough 
money to honor billions in debt payments, and this year appears 
to be no different. Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the struggling 
state oil producer, has $4.1 billion of debt payments to make 
before year-end. 
“We think they have sufficient resources to pay” $1.4 
billion coming due in October, said Anthony Simond, a money 
manager at London-based Aberdeen Asset Management, which 
oversees about $10 billion of emerging-market debt. He owns 
notes due in 2016 and 2017 issued by PDVSA, as the oil company 
is known. 
While he acknowledges the $2.7 billion of payments in 
November will be a “bit trickier,” he said President Nicolas 
Maduro wants “to avoid a default at any cost.” Oil Minister 
Eulogio Del Pino, who is also president of PDVSA, has said the 
company is in advanced talks to refinance debt due in the next 
18 months. 
For an analysis of how PDVSA can win a debt reprieve, click 
Maduro’s hold on power is increasingly tenuous as worsening 
shortages of everything from food to medicine fan public 
discontent. Alberto Ramos, an economist at Goldman Sachs Group 
Inc., said in a July 22 note that the country has fallen into a 
“depression” with signs of hyperinflation, but is likely to make 
all its debt payments this year by drawing down international 
The International Monetary fund predicts gross domestic 
product will shrink an unprecedented 10 percent this year, while 
inflation will exceed 700 percent. On July 20, Alejandro Werner, 
director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department, said 
Venezuela will be home to the “worst growth and inflation 
performance in the world.” 
Despite all this, JPMorgan analysts led by Ben Ramsey 
expect Venezuela to make good on debt payments. 
“We remain of the view that willingness to pay is very 
high,” they said in July 27 note to clients. “And PDVSA has no 
intention of triggering a credit event.” 
After slashing default bets in recent months, traders 
boosted them last week after Maduro shook up his cabinet, a move 
that included replacing a key member of his economic team and 
giving a top post to a military general accused of drug 
trafficking by the U.S. 
PDVSA’s press office declined to comment about any debt 
initiatives underway at the company or investors’ perception of 
the producer’s creditworthiness. Calls and e-mails to officials 
at the central bank went unanswered. 
To get by, Venezuela will count on a rebound in crude 
prices, its gold reserves and financing deals from China, 
according to Walter Molano, chief economist at BCP Securities 
LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.  
“I feel pretty confident they will pay,” he said, adding 
that a PDVSA default would create even more complications for 
the economy. "Without oil, Venezuela dies." 

--With assistance from Noris Soto and Fabiola Zerpa

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