May 22, 2018 / 11:15 PM / in 7 months

Regional lender IDB halts new loans to Venezuela on payment delays

CARACAS, May 22 (Reuters) - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has halted new loans to Venezuela because the troubled South American nation has fallen behind on servicing $2.0 billion in debt, the Washington, D.C.-based regional lender said on Tuesday.

Venezuela has a backlog of $212.4 million in payments to the IDB, of which $88.3 million are delayed by more than 180 days, the bank said in a statement.

“Under IDB norms on delayed payments, the Bank cannot make any loans to Venezuela until it brings its payments up to date,” the IDB said.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The country is crippled by a hyperinflationary economic crisis resulting from the collapse of its socialist system, with millions struggling to obtain food and medicine and thousands leaving the country each day.

It is already in default on nearly all of the $60 billion in bonds issued by Venezuela’s government and state oil company PDVSA.

Investors have still not opened legal disputes of the non-payment, in part because bondholders worry that the government of President Nicolas Maduro is not capable of carrying out a restructuring process. Sanctions by Washington also prohibit U.S. citizens from acquiring newly issued Venezuelan debt.

Maduro says Venezuela is victim of an “economic war” led by opposition politicians with the help of the United States. (Reporting by Corina Pons Writing by Brian Ellsworth Editing by Leslie Adler)

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