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Venezuela's PDVSA initiates interest payments for bonds

Petroleos de Venezuela SA said it has started paying $539 million in interest payments on four bonds hours before the end of an extension period.

The state oil company said in a Twitter post that it has initiated the transfer process for the payment of bonds maturing in 2026, 2024, 2021 and 2035. PDVSA only had between Dec. 15 and 16 to make those payments.

"We ratify the solvency and solidity of our oil industry, in a struggle against the illegal imperial sanctions," the company said on Twitter, in reference to U.S.-imposed sanctions aimed at transactions involving Venezuelan debt. President Nicolas Maduro's government has said it blames the sanctions for the delay in payments.

PDVSA accounts for about 30% of Venezuela's estimated $150 billion foreign debt. Maduro's decision to restructure the country's foreign debt has led to ratings downgrades from Fitch and S&P.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.