CARACAS/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has transferred most of the funds to make the delayed final payment on its 2017N bond, market sources said on Wednesday, as investors asked financial industry group ISDA if the delay constituted a credit event.
President Nicolas Maduro said last week that the bond would be paid in full, but added that all future sovereign and PDVSA debt payments would be restructured and refinanced.
Although Maduro said future debt would be honoured, investors nonetheless interpreted his comments as an indication his government was preparing to default.
PDVSA has broken the 2017N payment into separate portions, the sources said, asking not to be identified.
They added that it was not immediately evident when bondholders would receive the funds or which bank was the recipient bank for the funds.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) posted a question from creditors on its website, seeking to determine if a “credit event” had taken place with respect to the bond.
If ISDA ultimately determines that it has, it would trigger payment on Credit Default Swaps - a form of insurance against default often described as CDS - taken out on PDVSA bonds.
ISDA’s Determination Committee first votes on whether or not to accept the question and then votes on the answer, according to an ISDA spokeswoman.
PDVSA did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The full payment of $1.169 billion, which includes $1.121 billion in principal and $47 million in interest, was due on Nov. 2. Since October, Venezuela and PDVSA have been skipping interest payments, invoking a 30-day grace period in an apparent effort to ease a cash crunch that has left the country desperately short of basic goods such as food and medicines.
Venezuela and PDVSA bonds were down slightly on Wednesday, having pared losses from the morning.
Venezuela’s 2018N bond was down 0.500 points to a bid price of 31.000 and a yield of 164.58, while PDVSA’s 2022 bond was down 1.100 points to bid 26.900.
Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Rosalba O'Brien