Is Venezuela on the Brink of Economic Collapse?

Thursday, December 19, 2013
No wonder there's such a coordinated effort lately to lift U.S. sanctions, for the Castro brothers are desperately looking for their next bailout.

From Wall Street Journal:

Moody's Joins S&P in Downgrading Venezuela's Ratings

Moody's Investors Service slashed its ratings on Venezuela further into junk territory, the second major ratings firm to make such a move in recent days as the South American nation struggles with skyrocketing inflation and a weak economy.

On Monday, Moody's lowered its local and foreign currency ratings on Venezuela to Caa1, placing those ratings now seven notches into junk. The ratings outlook is negative, suggesting further downgrades could occur.

The cut comes after peer Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Friday cut its ratings on the oil-rich nation by one notch. S&P, which also has a negative outlook on Venezuela, rates the nation one level higher than Moody's.

Venezuela's economy has been stung by import bottlenecks and product shortages stemming from strict currency controls. The economy's modest 1.1% growth in the third quarter of 2013 was well below the 5% expansion posted in the same period last year, when the government poured money into social programs as it looked to win a key presidential race.

"Inflation is out of control having crossed the 50% mark," Moody's warned. Both ratings firms see inflation at around the 50% mark, up from 20% last year.