Venezuela Paying Debts by Shipping Gold
So that it can pay debt, Venezuela has started to ship gold to Europe. In mid January, Venezuela sent gold bars worth over $1.3 billion to Switzerland according to Swiss Federal Customs administration data.
The gold was sent only weeks prior to two large debt payments that were due in February that totaled $2.3 billion. Just Friday alone, the country must pay $1.5 billion to bondholders.
Venezuela is in the verge of running dry of cash and a number of experts believe there is a big chance it could default by the fall when a series of large debt payment come due.
One analyst put it simply, he said it was not a question of if Venezuela would default, but when, as their options are starting to run out.
That is why Venezuela is using its gold reserves, which are beginning to dwindle in order to make its debt payments.
However, experts have said that it must ship the gold to Switzerland as it is one of the biggest hubs for the precious metal and holds the most trusted stamp for purity. Therefore, once it is verified by the Swiss for quality, Venezuela can sell it for cash.
The South American nation also can put up gold as a form of collateral to receive a cash loan from a bank in what is called a gold swap.
Some people now believe that the second option is the likeliest reason for the gold shipment.
It was reported in early February by Reuters that Venezuela was holding negotiations with Deutsche Bank for a gold swap.
The ship is quite unusual. Gold is often traded, but countries usually maintain gold in places such as the vault of the Federal Reserve for safekeeping.
When they trade their gold, it usually moves from one particular vault to another.
However, Huge Chavez the late president of Venezuela brought the gold bars of the country back to Caracas in 2012 to show patriotism.