Some were predicting default by Sept. of 2015; it’s a matter of when, not if.
Steve Hanke posts on Ricardo Hausmann Versus Nicolas Maduro
Prof. Ricardo Hausmann, a native of Venezuela and professor at Harvard, concluded in a Financial Times op-ed last week that Venezuela will go down the tubes. Indeed, Hausmann wrote that “It is probably too late to avoid a Venezuelan catastrophe altogether. But to reduce its length and intensity, the country needs to adopt a sound economic plan that can garner ample international financial support. This is unlikely to happen while Mr. Maduro remains in power.”
As Hanke points out, the country is going down the tubes, while,
I doubt if Maduro knows what the word “strategy” means.
Dawn Kissi looks at how
Venezuela flirts with default, could be worse than Argentina (emphasis added)
With inflation logging near triple-digit gains and crude oil — the lifeblood of the Bolivarian Republic’s economy — deeply entrenched in a bear market, market observers are bracing themselves for the prospect of a calamitous debt default sometime this year. Last month, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro used his national address on Jan. 15 to declare an “economic emergency,” augmented by a political stalemate with the country’s congress. The International Monetary Fund estimated Venezuela’s economy contracted by at least 7 percent in 2015.
More than a decade ago, Argentina’s messy collapse triggered the largest sovereign debt default in history. Venezuela’s external debt, estimated to be $185 billion, according to central bank data, is considerably more than Argentina’s 2001 default on more than $100 billion of its obligations.
Though Venezuelan debt is not widely held by private institutions, it could yet ricochet across the region. Writing in the Financial Times last week, Harvard Economist Ricardo Hausmann said that Venezuela’s political instability, a fact of life since the death of former president Hugo Chavez, could make its potential default eclipse Argentina’s 2001 debacle.
One thing is clear: Venezuela Is About to Go Bust
For years, Venezuela has had a massive budget deficit, sustained only by exorbitant oil prices. For years, analysts have been warning that the Venezuelan government would rather chew nails that allow the private sector to grow. And yes, a lot of that borrowed money was used to help establish a narco-military kleptocracy.
It is impossible to untangle the ethical implications of all of this. Lending Venezuela money is what business ethics professors talk about when they question “winning at someone else’s expense.” Losing money from investing in Venezuela is akin to losing it from, say, funding a company that engages in morally reprehensible acts. (Insert the name of your favorite evil corporate villain here).
Maduro, low international reserves, profligate spending, entrenched corruption, all the other sympyoms of the disaster boil down to ideology.
Until that changes, nothing changes.