Venezuela Central Bank sees need to cut borrowing costs

April 7, 2011 - 0:0

CARACAS (Dow Jones)--Venezuela needs to devise a plan to cut its borrowing costs, Central Bank President Nelson Merentes said in an interview with local publication El Nacional.

The South American country’s rapid accumulation of debt is not yet a problem, Merentes said, but he added that “it doesn’t make sense that Venezuela has a high risk premium because it has always paid.”
The high risk premium “impacts the value of every bond sale that is done,” Merentes said, according to El Nacional. He said the country’s debt is now equal to 18% of gross domestic product.
The extra yield that investors charge to hold Venezuelan sovereign bonds was recently more than 11 percentage points over U.S. Treasurys, making it the riskiest country on J.P. Morgan’s Emerging Market Bond Index Global.
The central bank chief also downplayed prospects for another currency devaluation, saying “the adjustments that had to be made have already been made.”
Venezuela devalued its currency at the start of the year by unifying its multi-tiered exchange rate to 4.3 bolivars per dollar. Many economists, however, say another adjustment is necessary since the bolivar remains overvalued.