Venezuelan Daily Brief

Published in association with The DVA Group and The Selinger Group, the Venezuelan Daily Brief provides bi-weekly summaries of key news items affecting bulk commodities and the general business environment in Venezuela.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30th, 2011

Economics & Finance

Venezuela’s Central Bank director predicts economy to continue growing in 2nd half of 2011
Armando León, a director of Venezuela’s Central Bank predicts the South American country’s economy will continue growing in the second half of this year. He says growth will be comparable to the pace from January through June, when the economy grew 4.8% in the first quarter and 2.5% in the second quarter. Expansion during the first half of the year was spurred by increased government spending and high oil prices. (The Washington Post, 08-29-2011;

Debt soars, as parallel funds grow
According to the Central Bank’s (BCV) balance of payments, the government pays high interest rates for its debt at the same time it places billions of US dollars in funds that allow it to spend without budget constraints. The BCV has reported that the US dollar deposits held in parallel funds, such as the Fund related to the China agreement; the National Development Fund (FONDEN); the Fund for Social Emergencies (Fondo Súbito Social); the National Treasury; state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)" and the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), added up to U$D 35.17 billion by the end of June 2011 after the government pumped U$D 15.26 billion into them over the past six months. (El Universal, 08-29-2011;

Gov't has seized 988 companies
The Venezuelan government has seized 988 companies since 2002, according to data from the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (CONINDUSTRIA). An in-depth analysis of seizures shows that, far from diminishing, government's seizures have increased. So far this year, 401 companies were taken over by Venezuelan authorities, which is 41% over the 284 companies expropriated in 2010. According to CONINDUSTRIA, this scenario "creates legal uncertainty; drives investments away; and reduces the possibility of increasing production," and offers diminishing opportunities for solving such problems as supply and the high cost of living. (El Universal, 08-29-2011;

Guayana holds U$D250 billion in gold, according to Mundo report
Venezuela’s southern Guayana region, which includes the states of Bolivar, Amazonas and part of Delta Amacuro, has 140 million ounces of gold reserves, newspaper El Mundo reported today. The reserves, valued at about U$D 250 billion, include deposits in the El Callao, Brisas del Cuyuni and Las Cristinas mining districts, the Caracas-based daily reported, citing a document from the Ministry of Mining and Basic Industries. (Bloomberg, 08-29-2011;

Gov't airs plans on exploration of new gold mines
The Minister of Basic Industries and Mining José Khan says the government will embark on an exploration program to find new gold mines, an operation in the hands of joint ventures under the State control. "The purpose is to undertake a huge plan on certification and exploration of the mines that have been known for many years and discover new deposits," he said, as quoted in a press release from his ministry. (El Universal, 08-29-2011;

Public spending rose 8.1% but consumption rose only 3.1%
Public spending has increased 8.1% from January to July 30 2011 in real terms (indexed for inflation), according to the National Treasury. However, consumption which is one of the main generators of growth increased 3.2%. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 08-30-2011;


Refineries operate 25% below their capacity and the volume of crude oil processed in said refineries has dropped 8.2% in 12 years as a result of delays in investments at the Paraguaná Complex and at El Palito, and Bajo Grande plant in Zulia state and Puerto La Cruz and San Roque plants in Anzoátegui. (Veneconomy, 08-29-2011;

Refineries show U$D 10.2 billion in lost yield
Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) refining figures are showing red. Costs and expenses exceed income. Numbers by the end of last year indicate losses of U$D 10.2 billion that were only be offset by higher revenues received from oil sales. Refined products revenue reached U$D 24.8 billion, but that amount covered only 71% of operating costs and expenses, which were at U$D 35 billion. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 08-30-2011;

BCV has funded PDVSA by Bs 42.5 billion
Jose Guerra, who has served as manager of economic research at the Central Bank, says that by the end of July this year official indicators show "PDVSA – the state owned oil company - has been funded with Bs 42.5 billion, a figure that is nearly U$D 10 billion at the official exchange rate." More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-30-2011;

Local stock market up 52.93%
Venezuela stocks rose 0.33% last week on a return to low volumes, with barely 75,000 shares trading all week. Of the five stocks that changed price, four were up and one was down, with Electricidad de Caracas increasing the most to Bs. 0.2 for a 5.3% increase, Envases Venezolanos rose 5% at Bs. 21, CANTV rose 3.9% to Bs. 6.75 and Banco Provincial continued its ascent, rising 2.9% to Bs. 36. The lone stock to go down was Corimon, down 20% at Bs. 228. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 08-29-2011;

Transfer of shares suspended at the Caracas stock exchange
The National Securities Commission has ruled that intervened, liquidated or suspended brokerage firms may not sell or transfer its shares in the Caracas Stock Exchange. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-30-2011;


Chavez undergoes third chemo session in Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez is undergoing a third round of chemotherapy for cancer at home in Venezuela beginning Sunday, he said, instead of traveling to Cuba where he had two previous rounds of treatment. The socialist leader underwent surgery in Havana in June to remove a baseball-sized tumor, then returned to the communist-led island twice for chemotherapy as the guest of his friend and mentor, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. (Reuters, 08-27-2011;

Venezuela puts signs in buses to fight world's highest murder rate
The government of President Hugo Chavez said Thursday it is adding a new weapon in its fight against the world's highest murder rate: signs in buses. According to the Interior and Justice Ministry, the signs will say “Firearms-free zone”. Venezuela’s murder rate has skyrocketed since Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, growing from 4,450 murders in 1998 to a projected 19,000-plus murder this year. The Chavez government has announced 33 different “security” plans, roughly three a year, since he took over, and the post of Interior & Justice minister has been held by 12 ministers in 12 years. (Latina American Herald Tribune, 08-25-2011;

"No de facto government can be established in Venezuela", says Heinz Dieterich
In a recent article posted on the Kaosenlared website, Heinz Dieterich described how his ties with Hugo Chávez began to deteriorate since 2005. He says the president does not want to hear Dieterich's assertion that "there is no socialism here, not in the historical sense of the term." From then on, the German Marxist sociologist, a professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and creator of the "Socialism of the 21st Century" thesis, fell from grace. Execrated, he progressively lost his status as ideologist of Chavezism, and in 2007 the final breakdown took place. (El Universal, 08-27-2011;

Capriles will be officially launched in October
The governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles Radonski, announced that the official launching of his campaign as presidential candidate will take place next October, and after the event he will begin touring the country. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 08-29-2911;

Colombia considers security is still a challenge for Venezuela
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin has noted rebuilding relations with Venezuela and Ecuador, but says "there is still a challenge in terms of security." However, she emphasized that agreements have been signed for the fight against crime and drugs. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-29-2011;

Andean Community keeps open doors for Venezuela
CAN Secretary General Adalid Contreras says no official steps have been taken for a potential return of Venezuela, but considers it "the right timing" due to positive development prospects in the Andean trade bloc, composed of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-29-2011;

Ambassador of Venezuela left Tripoli
Venezuela's ambassador to Libya, Afif Tajeldine has left Tripoli, according to his son, Basem Tajeldine, who says
"For reasons of security is no longer there, but in an area of the Maghreb, North Africa". More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 08-30-2011;

The following brief is a synthesis of the news as reported by a variety of media sources. As such, the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Duarte Vivas & Asociados and The Selinger Group.

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