CARACAS – Russia and Venezuela signed a debt restructuring deal on Wednesday allowing Caracas to make “minimal” payments to Moscow in the next six years to help it meet obligations to other creditors, the Russian Finance Ministry said.
Under the deal, Venezuela will pay Russia back a total of US$ 3.15 billion over a 10-year period, the ministry said.
Venezuela has public external debts of about US$150 billion, including US$45 billion in government debt and another US$45 billion of the state oil company PDVSA’s debt, according to the International Institute of Finance, an adviser to a group of U.S. and international holders of Venezuelan debt.
The Russian Finance Ministry said on Wednesday the restructuring should free up more funds to allow Venezuela to develop its economy and “will improve the debtor’s payment ability, increasing the chances of all creditors to get their loans back.”
The ministry statement did not mention PDVSA debt to Rosneft, last estimated by the Russian oil company at US$6 billion in August.
Asked whether PDVSA debt was part of Wednesday’s deal, Venezuelan Economy and Finance Minister Simon Zerpa told a briefing in Moscow that no corporate debt was included in the new deal, which was purely between the two governments.
Pavel Fyodorov, one of Rosneft’s first vice presidents, said on Tuesday that Venezuela was paying its debt in tranches of “hundreds of million dollars,” and that his company had no plans to lend any more money to the country.
Venezuela has borrowed billions of dollars from Russia and China over the years, primarily through oil-for-loan deals that have crimped the country’s hard currency revenue by requiring oil shipments to be used to service those loans.
Venezuela has not requested any help from Russia beyond a debt restructuring deal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
Separately, China also expressed confidence in Venezuela’s financial situation. “We believe that the Venezuelan government and people are capable of properly handling their debt issues,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at a press conference.
“At present, the financing cooperation between China and Venezuela is running as usual.”
Venezuela has borrowed billions of dollars from Russia and China over the years, primarily through oil-for-loan deals.