Venezuela Officially Defaults; Annual Inflation 2689 Percent: When Does the Military Take Over?

by Mish Shedlock, MishTalk.com

Electricidad de Caracas, a Venezuelan state-owned electric company, officially defaulted on a $650 million bond payment. The company was already a month late on its payment before the trustee, Wilmington Trust, issued a statement. Meaanwhile, Professor Steve Hanke notes annual inflation is 2689%.

CNBC reports Venezuela Utility Defaults as Judgment Day Looms for State Oil Giant.

Venezuela's Electricidad de Caracas — a state-owned electric company — has defaulted on a $650 million bond payment, Wilmington Trust said Friday.

The default comes as the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) prepares to decide next Monday whether state-run oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) experienced a credit event earlier this month.

PDVSA missed a $1.12 billion bond payment on Nov. 2. If ISDA decides that PDVSA did experience a credit event, that could lead bondholders to declare a default, which could trigger an avalanche.

"We expect if holders do declare a default then that could be used to trigger cross default across the whole US$28bn of PDVSA bonds," Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at Exotix Capital, said in a note. He noted, however, that bondholders "may simply give the government more time to make the payment, as the intention seems to be there, but coordinating a large group of holders with different incentives could prove challenging."

Food Shortages

CNN reports Venezuela’s Dreams are Dying.

President Nicolas Maduro erased any remnants of democracy in late July, stripping political opponents of power and establishing a new legislature filled with his cronies.

But Maduro’s cemented regime still faces the same problems it started years ago: An exodus of its educated class combined with mass shortages of food, medicine, money and -- most importantly -- time.

Shortages of basic medicine and proper medical equipment are common. More than 750 women died during or shortly after childbirth in 2016, a 66% increase from 2015, according to the Venezuelan health ministry. Nearly 11,500 infants died, a 30% jump. Malaria cases soared to 240,000, a staggering 76% increase. That last one is especially telling: Venezuela had already eradicated malaria more than 50 years ago. I met three paramedics in a week who all said they’re low or out of gauze, gloves and bandages.

Nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans polled said they had lost at least 19 pounds last year, one poll found.

A domino effect has created a worthless currency. On July 24, the day I arrived in Venezuela, a dollar equaled 8,820 bolivars. As I write this on September 6, a dollar fetches nearly 20,000 bolivars. In other words, the bolivar is worth less than a hundredth of a penny.

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