NEW YORK: Venezuela's sovereign credit rating, already at junk status, faces short-term risks over any political transition in light of President Hugo Chavez's inability to attend his own inauguration on Jan. 10, Moody's Investors Service said on Wednesday.
"Regardless of who succeeds Chavez and which part of the political spectrum they represent, however, this potential opportunity is outweighed in the shorter term by risks associated with the political transition that could negatively impact Venezuela's rating if they crystallize," Moody's said in a statement.
The 58-year-old socialist has not been seen in public nor heard from in almost a month following surgery in Cuba. The government says he is in a delicate condition and cannot attend Thursday's scheduled swearing-in for a new six-year term.
Moody's rates Venezuela at B2 with a stable outlook, backed by its oil wealth. Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings have the credit one notch higher at B-plus. S&P has a stable outlook while Fitch has a negative outlook.
Center>Copyright Reuters, 2013