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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Goldman Sachs Sells Off $300 Million In PDVSA Bonds At A Slim Profit

Venezuela

Goldman Sachs has sold of a portion of the Venezuelan bonds it purchased in May, causing market commotion at the time of the initial $2.8 billion transaction last month.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the banking major sold $300 million worth of bonds to a hedge fund. Anonymous sources said Goldman made a slim profit from the sale, without providing additional details on margins.

The entire multi-billion-dollar purchase of state-owned oil giant PDVSA’s bonds costed Goldman 31 cents on the dollar, due to the detrimental effects of three years of oil market oversupply.

Julio Borges, the head of the Venezuelan National Assembly, accused the American bank of “making a quick buck off the suffering Venezuelan people” by providing working capital to unpopular President Nicolas Maduro via the bond purchase.

Goldman made the transaction "on the secondary market from a broker and did not interact with the Venezuelan government," the bank said in a statement in May, further explaining that, "We recognize that … Venezuela is in crisis. We agree that life there has to get better, and we made the investment in part because we believe it will."

Venezuela has been crippled by protests since late March, and there is no sign of improvement. This meltdown is taking a toll on Venezuela’s oil production, the last thing keeping the country from becoming a failed state. Venezuela’s oil production has been declining for more than a decade, mainly because oil revenues are used to finance the government, leaving little for state-owned PDVSA to reinvest in its operations. As of April, oil production stood at 1.956 million barrels per day, down 10 percent from last year, and down more than 17 percent from 2015 levels - and output continues to trend downward.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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