October 28, 2015 / 3:41 AM / 4 years ago

Venezuela's PDVSA has paid $5 bln in bonds in last 15 days - fin min

CARACAS, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has made $5 billion in bond payments over the last 15 days, Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco said on Tuesday, without offering details on which bonds had been paid.

PDVSA’s $1.41 billion 2015 bond matures on Wednesday and a $2.05 billion amortization payment on the PDVSA 2017 bond is due at the start of November.

Coupons totaling $685 million have come due since Oct. 12, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“In these 15 days alone, PDVSA has paid $5 billion in foreign debt payments,” Marco said during a televised broadcast with President Nicolas Maduro.

Marco said bonds should have risen in price as a result of the payments, but noted that on Monday they dropped instead.

He attributed this to an economic war against the country, which is the government’s principal explanation for Venezuela’s soaring inflation and chronic product shortages.

“This is how we can show that the ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, have an economic war against Venezuela,” Marco said. No comment was immediately available from the ratings agencies.

Economists say Venezuela’s economy is struggling under a combination of low oil prices and dysfunctional price and currency controls. Venezuela must make some $10 billion in principal and interest payments on foreign bonds in 2016, similar to the total for 2015.

Investors have grown concerned that Venezuela may default on foreign debt, which has left bond prices heavily discounted.

Maduro notes that the Socialist Party has never defaulted on commitments to Wall Street and dismisses default talk as a smear campaign against his government. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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