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Venezuela creditors' committee again postpones default decision

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is shown in this January 31, 2017 file photo at a rally with workers of PDVSA in Caracas (AFP Photo/JUAN BARRETO)

New York (AFP) - A committee of Venezuelan creditors on Monday again postponed a decision on whether state oil company PDVSA has defaulted on its debt, as bondholders are due to meet with Caracas to discuss a debt restructuring.

A default declaration has come to be seen as almost inevitable as cash-strapped Venezuela is struggling to service an estimated $150 billion in debt.

The committee of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association agreed to reconvene Tuesday at 11:00 am (1600 GMT) to continue the discussion.

The ruling will determine whether creditors who hold default insurance -- credit default swaps -- can collect payment.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro called creditors to a meeting Monday to discuss restructuring payments on the debt of PDVSA and the government.

However, the prospects for agreement are complicated by the US sanctions imposed on the country and on many senior officials, which prohibit any US person or bank from buying the country's debt.

The so-called Determinations Committee for the Americas, comprised of 15 financial firms, met in New York "to discuss whether a Failure to Pay Credit Event had occurred" with respect to PDVSA, according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.

While the committee "received additional information in a submission on Monday," it is still considering PDVSA's status.

The Maduro government had said it would make a $1.2 billion payment on a PDVSA bond November 2, but it was unclear if the funds ever reached creditors. As a result, a group of investors last week asked for a committee ruling of default to allow them to cash in on the CDS.

About 70 percent of Venezuelan bondholders are North American, according to government figures, while China and Russia also hold a large share.