(Adds official confirmation)
By Corina Pons
CARACAS, April 12 Venezuela and its state oil
company PDVSA on Wednesday made $2.6 billion in bond payments,
the OPEC country's vice president said on Wednesday, fulfilling
heavy debt service that has contributed to the country's
President Nicolas Maduro's government has met commitments to
Wall Street investors for years by slashing imports of basic
goods such as food and medicine, spurring chronic product
shortages. Maduro says the country is victim of an "economic
war" led by opposition businesses.
Bondholders earlier told Reuters that PDVSA had made
interest and principal payments of $2.2 billion.
The figure provided by Vice President Tareck El Aissami also
included interest payments on Venezuela's sovereign debt.
"Despite the ruthless economic war, in conspiracy with local
media and foreign news agencies, spurred by imperialists and
their internal cronies ... the revolutionary government has paid
$2.557 billion," El Aissami said in a statement on Twitter.
The payments due on Wednesday included interest and
principal on PDVSA's maturing 2017 bond as well
as interest on its 2027 and 2037
PDVSA's bonds were up across the board, with the benchmark
2022 rising 1.750 points to yield 31.404 percent.
Venezuela's bonds are the highest-yielding of any emerging
market security due to concerns about default.
Maduro has dismissed default talk as a smear campaign
against his administration.
(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Corina Pons; Editing by Lisa
Von Ahn and Bill Trott)