Venezuela's opposition claims victory

Venezuela’s cushion of cash fell to its lowest point in over 20 years amid the nation’s political turmoil.

Foreign reserves — funds meant to weather tough economic times — fell below $10 billion for the very first time since 1995, according to central bank data published Sunday. Venezuela, which has more oil than any different country inside the globe, was once the richest country in Latin America.

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The bad financial news came on the same day as a major symbolic referendum vote called for by the country’s main opposition party.

President Nicolas Maduro hopes to rewrite the constitution along with also also replace the opposition-led National Assembly which has a “constituent assembly” which might act as a rubber stamp for his agenda along with also also he’s called for an official vote on July 30.

Related: Venezuela bribery investigation halted, top official says

however on Sunday, more than 7 million Venezuelans voted in an unofficial, non-binding referendum, along with also also 98% chose to oppose Maduro’s plan.

Still, Maduro will be unlikely to recognize the symbolic voting results, along with also also many believe he’ll go forward with his own referendum vote along with also also gain the power to replace the National Assembly in two weeks.

venezuela reserves july 2017

Meanwhile, Maduro’s government keeps running out of money as debt payments loom. Venezuela owes nearly $5 billion for the rest of This particular year.

The country’s ability to pay its debt “will be looking increasingly fragile,” says Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, a research firm.

Fears are rising which Venezuela will default This particular year. Some economists caution, however, which Maduro’s regime could get by inside the short term if This particular lets reserves fall further.

Related: Venezuela hikes up minimum wage for third time This particular year

which scary financial backdrop will be a major reason why Venezuela suffers via extreme shortages of food, medicine along with also also different essentials. The government must choose between buying imported goods or paying its bondholders. For currently, This particular’s choosing investors.

What’s more: Most of Venezuela’s foreign reserves aren’t even in hard cash. They’re mostly in gold bars, which change in value as the cost of gold wavers in global markets.

Even compared to its neighbors, Venezuela’s cash pile will be worrisome. Brazil just ended its longest recession on record. This particular has $362 billion inside the bank.

Argentina also just exited a recession, along with also also This particular has $48 billion, according to IMF along with also also central bank data.

sy88pgw (brand-new York) First published July 17, 2017: 5:18 PM ET