The agency is downgrading Venezuela’s sovereign debt grade to “selective default”.
It means Caracas skipped a specific bond payment but remains committed to paying off its international debts.
And in a further blow to President Nicolas Maduro’s debt-ridden socialist government S&P said: “There is a one-in-two chance that Venezuela could default again within the next three months.”
The ratings agency said the nation failed to make $200 million in coupon payments within the allowed 30-day grace period for bonds due 2019 and 2024.
Venezuela has defaulted on its $60 billion after failing to make payments due on bonds
Venezuela could again miss a payment on its outstanding debt obligations or advance a distressed debt exchange operation
S&P said Venezuela could again miss a payment on its outstanding debt obligations or advance a distressed debt exchange operation, equivalent to default, within the next three months.
Venezuelan sovereign debt was mainly a touch firmer but some PDVSA bonds fell further, with the 2035 bond down 1.2 cents, the 2027 bond down 1.4 cents and the 2021 issue down 1.5 cents.
Industry body ISDA said it would reconvene on Tuesday to discuss whether PDVSA had triggered a credit default event through a late payment of its 2017N bonds.
It comes after Venezuela gave creditors chocolates instead of firm proposals in a desperate ploy as the country teeters on the edge of financial collapse.
Price action on PDVSA’s 2027 bond
Yesterday the socialist government offered the sweet treats during a brief meeting in Caracas but left investors without a clear understanding of the government’s strategy to renegotiate $60 billion in debt.
President Maduro confused investors this month with a vow to continue paying Venezuela’s crippling debt, while also seeking to restructure and refinance it.
Monday’s short and confused meeting, attended by senior Venezuelan officials blacklisted by the United States, gave no clarity on how Mr Maduro would carry out his plan, bondholders and their representatives who participated said afterwards.
One bondholder, leaving the meeting that lasted a little over half an hour at the ‘White Palace’, departing with a colourful gift-bag containing Venezuelan chocolates and coffee, said: “There was no offer, no terms, no strategy, nothing.”
President Maduro had termed imminent sanctions by the EU as “stupid”
Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami (C) speaks during a meeting with bondholders
Russia, China, Egypt and Bolivia boycotted an informal public United Nations Security Council meeting on Venezuela on Monday organised by the United States, saying the 15-member body should not be involved in the situation.
“The issue is about meddling with the internal domestic affairs of Venezuela,” Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters, adding he hoped the country could settle its issues peacefully without any external interference.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the meeting: “The fact that the (Venezuelan) government would go so far as to try and get people not to show up to a meeting is guilt. And that’s unfortunate.
“We received pressure from regional partners not to have this meeting. This goal is not to degrade anyone. This is not to humiliate a region. This is only to lift up the region.”
Uruguay’s Deputy UN Ambassador Luis Bermudez attended the UN meeting, but said his country did not believe the situation in Venezuela was a threat to international peace and security.
Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez spoke to reporters as the meeting was being held, flanked by Nebenzia, Chinese Deputy UN Ambassador Wu Haitao and Bolivian UN Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz.
Mr Ramirez said: “The meeting is a hostile and clearly interfering act of the United States that undermines the principle of sovereignty of a member state of the UN. We condemn this act of political manipulation.”
Venezuela is suffering from a harsh economic crisis and President Maduro’s government has clamped down on the opposition, jailing or otherwise barring from office many dissenting leaders and activists.
Dozens of people have died in violence since the opposition began a sustained wave of protests in April. Met by rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas fired by the National Guard, the protesters say the crisis demands an early presidential election that they are sure Mr Maduro would lose.
His popularity has been pounded lower by triple-digit inflation and acute food and medicine shortages.
People queue to withdraw cash from an ATM outside a Banco BFC branch in Caracas
Venezuelan ambassador to the UN Rafael Ramirez Carreno branded the UN meeting “hostile”
European Union foreign ministers approved economic sanctions, including an arms embargo, on Venezuela on Monday, saying regional elections last month marred by reported irregularities had deepened the country’s crisis.
The United States has also imposed targeted sanctions on top Venezuelan officials.
Anxious not to push Caracas any closer to economic and political collapse as debt restructuring talks begin, EU governments held back from targeting any individuals.
The bloc instead left names for a later stage to try to persuade President Maduro to calm the situation.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis told reporters at a meeting with his counterparts where the sanctions decision was made: “Everything we do is aimed at seeking dialogue between the government and the opposition to find a democratic and peaceful solution.”
Venezuelan opposition leaders said last week they would resume efforts to hold a dialogue with President Maduro, even though they say he previously used such talks to stall for time instead of implementing serious reform.
Over the weekend, President Maduro had termed imminent sanctions by the bloc as “stupid.”