CARACAS (Reuters) - S&P Global Ratings declared Venezuela in selective default after it failed to make coupon payments on bonds due in 2019 and 2024 within a 30-day grace period, and warned there was a strong chance the South American country would miss further payments within three months.
S&P said in a statement late on Monday that Venezuela had failed to make $200 million in coupon payments for its global bonds due 2019 and 2024 within the 30-calendar-day grace period, due on Sunday.
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. He insisted, however, the OPEC nation would continue to service its debts.
Bondholders had told Reuters on Monday they had not yet received payments on the 2019 and 2024 bonds but remained unconcerned by the delay, which they said was partly due to increased bank vigilance of Venezuelan transactions in the wake of U.S. sanctions.
S&P said it had lowered Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to 'SD', and cut its long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to 'SD/D' from 'CC/C.
"Our CreditWatch negative reflects our opinion that there is a one-in-two chance that Venezuela could default again within the next three months," S&P said in its statement.
The ratings agency said it would raise its long-term foreign currency sovereign issuer credit and issue ratings to 'CC' if Venezuela solved its default on the overdue coupons and remains timely on other payments before the restructuring is completed.
(Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Catherine Evans)