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Why a Columnist Compares Illinois with Venezuela

The details differ, but both Illinois and Venezuela are in a big financial mess.

EWI’s July 2017 Financial Forecast noted:

Last month, the Elliott Wave Financial Forecast … discussed the financial crisis gripping the State of Illinois. The state is a financial basket case, with one online columnist comparing it to Venezuela.

With the above in mind, read this excerpt from an August 2 Wall Street Journal article titled “Venezuelan Default Fears Rise With Billions in Debt Coming Due Soon”:

Investors have been bracing for a Venezuela debt default for more than a year, but fallout from the country’s widely criticized election last weekend could prove to be the tipping point.

The government and state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, also known as PdVSA, together owe $5 billion in principal and interest payments due between now and the end of the year, according to Caracas Capital Markets. The country has $725 million due this month alone, the Venezuelan investment bank said.

The problem: Venezuela only has about $3 billion of its foreign reserves in cash, according to S&P Global Ratings. That means the country is dependent on oil exports to make up the difference. …

In a sign of investor nervousness, the probability of a default within a year in Venezuela—as calculated through credit-default swaps, a form of insurance on the possibility of a default—has been rising, approaching 70% on Wednesday. That is the highest level since February 2016, when oil fell below $30 a barrel, according to Stifel Nicolaus & Co. …

[I]f Venezuela does miss a payment, some observers say the default would likely make it among the largest in history. While it is difficult to know exactly how much Venezuela owes in external debt, some estimates say the figure approaches $150 billion.

EWI expects widespread debt defaults as a developing deflationary trend matures.

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