[3/2/17] Caracas is running out of cash.
Venezuela only has $10.5 billion in foreign reserves left, according to its most recent central bank data.
In 2011, Venezuela had roughly $30 billion in reserves. In 2015, it had $20 billion. The trend can’t persist much longer, but it’s hard to know exactly when Venezuela will run completely out of cash.
“The question is: Where is the floor?” says Siobhan Morden, head of Latin America fixed income strategy at Nomura Holdings. “If oil prices stagnate and foreign reserves reach zero, then the clock is going to start on a default.”
According to the country’s recently released 2016 financial report, about $7.7 billion of its remaining $10.5 billion of reserves is in gold. To make debt payments in the past year, Venezuela shipped gold to Switzerland.
The thinning reserves paint a scary financial picture as the country faces a humanitarian crisis sparked by an economic meltdown. Venezuelans are suffering massive food and medical shortages, as well as skyrocketing grocery prices.