PARIS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s public and private creditors are working on how to one day restructure its debt, though U.S. sanctions make that impossible for now, a source close to the Paris Club of government creditors said on Wednesday.
Crippled by a hyperinflationary economic crisis, the cash-strapped Venezuelan government and state oil company PDVSA are in default on most of their $60 billion in outstanding bonds.
Including debt owed to other governments and official lenders, the OPEC member’s foreign debt is estimated to stand at $140 billion, with China owed $20-25 billion and Paris Club creditors $5.8 billion, the source said.
However, any restructuring is all but impossible for now because of U.S. sanctions under which that could be seen as illegal financing by Washington.
“Everybody, whether it be the IMF, the private creditors or the official creditors, is preparing for the day after, when it comes, when things become possible,” the source said.
“We can’t do anything now because of the American sanctions,” the source added speaking after Paris Club and private creditors met on Wednesday in the French capital to discuss a range of issues, including Venezuela’s debt.
Any future restructuring is complicated by the fact that some Venezuelan sovereign bonds and no PDVSA bonds are covered by so-called collective action clauses, meaning a minority of bondholders could have scope to hold out in a restructuring deal.
“The complexity of a Venezuelan debt restructuring is an issue, the day that it happens. It will be very, very complicated,” the source said.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Andrew Roche