Venezuela's Debt Piles Up

Venezuela reportedly blew past another two bond payments this past weekend, adding hundreds of millions of dollars U.S. to a growing pile of unpaid bills just days before the first of two can't-miss debt deadlines.

The beleaguered petrostate has now missed $586 million U.S. in payments tied to the debt of the government; state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela, SA; and the utility Electricidad de Caracas, three investment firms focused on developing and frontier markets confirmed.

As of last Friday, Venezuela had racked up $349 million U.S. in unpaid bond interest. This weekend, it failed to make payments totaling $237 million U.S. due on another two sovereign bonds.

There is some consensus forming around the idea that Venezuela is squirreling away its pennies to make sure it is able to pay the $841 million U.S. in principal, plus interest, due on Friday on a bond issued by PDVSA, the state oil company. The collateral against the bond is Citgo, PDVSA's Houston-based refining and retail subsidiary.

Then, on Nov. 2, a nearly $1.2-billion PDVSA bond is maturing. Unlike the interest payments Venezuela has missed this month, the two major principal payments do not have grace periods.

One school of thought says that recent U.S. sanctions may be making it more difficult for Venezuela to transfer payments through the international financial system.

However, one experts says that Venezuela has been able to complete other transactions. Further, if sanctions were the issue, the combative government of President Nicolas Maduro would likely make a statement saying as much