Posted on Monday, 04.28.14
Moody’s cuts Cuba credit rating
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
The Moody’s credit rating firm has dropped Cuba’s low ranking even
further, saying that the island is vulnerable to an “elevated risk” of
an economic collapse in Venezuela as well as “abrupt and disorderly”
changes at home.
Although Cuban ruler Raúl Castro “recently indicated that his current
term will be his last and, at the same time, appointed a first vice
president … there is considerable uncertainty around the future state of
Cuba’s political economy,” the firm said.
Those factors create the risk of “an abrupt and disorderly political
transition” in Cuba, Moody’s said in a report last week on how the
turmoil in Venezuela could affect its cheap oil exports to member
nations of the Petrocaribe program.
“Cuba relies heavily upon Venezuela for oil, which is imported with
favorable financing terms through Petrocaribe,” the credit rating firm
said. It put the value of Venezuelan oil sent to the island in 2012 at
more than $6 billion.
“Given Venezuela’s increasingly unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances
and elevated risk of an economic and financial collapse, the future of
this arrangement is uncertain, rendering Cuba vulnerable to a sharp
adjustment in the cost of energy imports.” Moody’s said.
Cuba pays for the Venezuelan crude by sending an estimated 40,000
medical professionals, teachers, sports coaches and other “advisers” to
work in Venezuela, although details of the arrangement remain largely
Cuba’s credit rating has been traditionally poor under the communist
government. Moody’s dropped its rating last week from Caa1 to Caa2,
described as part of the category known as “highly speculative” and
Castro, 82, has been pushing reforms to move the island’s economy away
from its centrally controlled and inefficient Soviet model and toward a
system that allows more room for small-scale private enterprise.
Venezuela, whose overall subsidy to Cuba is estimated at more than $6
billion, has been mired in weeks of violent street protests against
President Nicolás Maduro that have left more than 40 dead and 600
injured. Moody’s dropped its Venezuela rating in December to Caa1.
The firm said Cuba, Nicaragua and Jamaica would be the most vulnerable
if Venezuela is forced to cut back its cheap oil exports under the
Petrocaribe program, while the Bahamas and Honduras would be the least
The other Petrocaribe members are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica,
Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, St.
Vincent and Grenadines, St. Lucia and Suriname.
Source: Moody’s cuts Cuba credit rating – Cuba – MiamiHerald.com –