Goldman Sets Off an Uproar In Venezuela With a Bond Bet

In Venezuela On

Venezuelan bonds would seem to be an unlikely target for global investors.

The country is in near revolt and has barely enough ready cash to feed its people, much less pay the billions of dollars in debt that the government owes to its foreign lenders.

Yet bonds issued by Venezuela’s national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, or Pdvsa, have attracted some of world’s most sophisticated investors. They are betting that the government will use its dwindling supply of dollars to pay bondholders instead of importing food and medicine for its people.

Now, Goldman Sachs’ decision to snap up $2.8 billion worth of Pdvsa bonds maturing in 2022, at a 70 percent discount to the market price, has struck a nerve.

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