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.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 04th, 2011

Economics & Finance

An estimated U$D 9 billion corporate dividends frozen in local market
Asdrúbal Oliveros, a director at the ECOANALÍTICA economic analysis firm estimates that total pending Central Bank obligations to multinational companies for dividend repatriation, plus amounts still in the works comes to approximately U$D 9 billion. He explained the CADIVI currency board shows U$D 2.5 billion pending, but says there are another U$D 6.5 still undeclared, adding that this situation is halting investments until after the 2012 Presidential elections allows a clear picture on debt repayment. He says dividend repatriation will remain on “standby” for the next months; and adds that if there is a Chavez reelection there may be a plan for “payments through debt”, in order to finance investment projects in the oil industry. (El Universal, 11-02-2011;

Year to date inflation at 22.7%; 27.7% for foods and beverages
The Central Bank (BCV) and the National Statistics Institute (INE) officially confirmed that the consumer Price index for October was 1.8%, which brings year to date inflation to 22.7%. However, inflation for foods and beverages was 2.5% in October, which brings year to date inflation in this to 27.7%. However, Augusto Montiel, head of the official Consumer Protection Agency says price increases are not due to inflation, but rather to “speculation” and the “perception of rising prices”. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 11-04-2011;; El Nacional;; El Universal; and El Mundo;

No other country in the world pays as much interest as Venezuela
Alejandro Grisanti, research director for Latin America at Barclays Capital, says Venezuela is paying interest rates around 12% due to a policy of high indebtedness in order to meet currency demands. He points out no country is in such a situation, not even Greece; and considers it necessary to stop this policy immediately given foreseeable short term consequences. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 11-04-2011;

Industrial capability shrank by 40% in 12 years
Carlos Larrazabal, President of the National Industrial Council (CONINDUSTRIA) reports that investment in manufacturing is either stagnant or receding as attacks on prívate property increase. He says the situation has become worse since 2006 when there was one takeover; 126 in 2007, 24 in 2008, 137 in 2009, 284 in 2010 and 497 takeovers to date in 2011. More in Spanish:(Tal Cual, 11-04-2011;

Land rescue policy shows no success in the market
Official spokesmen say decisions to seize lands implemented by the Government over the past 10 have been aimed at increasing meat and milk production, on the premise they are ensuring food security. However, results of this policy are not borne out by the market. Meat is not easily found on the shelves of butcher shops and supermarkets due to low prices and to the inability of the local production base. The supply of milk has been also hit by the same problems. Production of milk in Venezuela's two most productive areas in the state of Zulia has declined between 50% and 60% due to the takeover of farms and weather factors, according to cattle raiser associations. (El Universal, 11-02-2011;

Budgetary allocation for agriculture dives 16.2% in 2012
Transparency Venezuela says a 45% nominal growth in Venezuela's 2012 budget compared to funds initially appropriated in the 2011 budget does not reflect in funds available to productive sectors. The NGO found that the funds appropriated in the 2012 proposed budget for several production areas fell in real terms compared to 2011. (El Universal, 11-02-2011;

An increase of money supply (M2) expected by the last quarter of 2011 in the domestic market as a result of the traditional Christmas bonuses and other payments made by both the public and private sectors before the end of the year. Data from the Central Bank (BCV) indicate money supply has increased 25% since the beginning of the year when it was Bs.F.294,492 million. The indicator posted Bs.F.366,694 million on October 21. (Veneconomy, 11-02-2011;


Venezuela 2012 oil output to stay at 3.01 million barrels a day, calls for OPEC production cut
Venezuela will maintain its current crude oil production of 3.01 million barrels a day in 2012, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said today during a presentation to the National Assembly’s Finance Committee to discuss the budget.
We’re going to continue to comply with our OPEC quota until there’s an agreement to change output levels,” Ramirez said. “We’re going to keep working on stabilizing our oil price.” He also said members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries who are producing above their mandated output quotas must cut oil production before discussing future decisions; and added that uncertainty over the future of the global economy has increased since the last OPEC meeting when member countries failed to reach a consensus. (Bloomberg, 11-02-2011; and

PetroSa finds 1 billion barrels in Orinoco Belt
South Africa's national oil company PetroSA reported on Wednesday that its joint venture with state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has found about 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil at the Orinoco Oil Belt.
In 2008, PetroSA signed oil exploration and heavy crude oil production agreements with Pdvsa, Reuters quoted. (El Universal, 11-02-2011;

PDVSA to transfer 14% of oilfield in Orinoco belt to PETROECUADOR
State-run oil company PDVSA will transfer to Ecuadorian PETROECUADOR a 14% stake in the Dobokubi oilfield in Orinoco oil belt, according to Alexi Arellano, manager of PETROECUADOR, who said the operation will be completed "in the next three months". The Dobokubi oilfield currently produces 6,200 barrels per day, but it has potential to reach 25,000 to 30,000 bpd. (El Universal, 11-01-2011;

Indigenous miners complain about illegal acts by military
Indigenous communities in the Amanaima area (Upper Paragua) of Guayana have released a group of 19 military officers and soldiers the Indians had held and disarmed in the La Paragua township, after finding soldiers engaged in illegal mining activities. The area was demilitarized, mining by the military halted, and Indians recovered their areas. Indigenous leaders complained that people reacted to abuses by troops, whose job is to prevent illegal mining for environmental purposes. (El Universal, 11-01-2011;

CAF approves U$D 380 million to streamline GURI plant
The Andean Development Corporation (CAF) has approved a U$D 380 million loan to Venezuela, to be executed by the National Electricity Corporation (CORPOELEC) for a comprehensive streamlining plan for the first six generating units at Simón Bolívar (GURI) Hydroelectric Power Plant which has been operating for 50 years,. (El Universal, 11-02-2011;

Sugar production only covers 30% of local demand, due to a decreasing production and population growth, according to the head of the Venezuelan National Sugar Cane Growers Federation (FESOCA) José Ricardo Álvarez. The current sugar cane harvest is only 6,500,000 tons which represents some 500,000 tons of the final products, according to data from FUNDACAÑA. (Veneconomy, 11-02-2011;

Logistics & Transport

New Land Transport, and Air and Aquatic Transport Ministries created, under military direction
President Chavez has decided to split the Ministry of Transport and Communications to provide better attention to land and aeronautical areas. The new Ministry for Air and Aquatic Transportation will be headed by Capitan Elsa Gutierrez, who has been in charge of port management; and the newly created Ministry for Land Transportation will be headed by General Juan Garcia. (AVN, 11-03-2011;

International trade

Venezuela and Portugal signed 13 new agreements extending their bilateral cooperation in areas of industrial development, which include the construction of a factory to assemble Canaima computers (these are the computers the government gives to primary school children) and a commitment between PDVSA Gas and a Portuguese engineering company to develop a gas project in Cumaná, Sucre state. (Veneconomy, 11-02-2011;


Three-horse race for Venezuela's anti-Chavez ticket
The race to be the presidential candidate of Venezuela's opposition coalition has come down to three challengers who all hope their youth and experience in office make them the best bet to unseat President Hugo Chavez.
Less than a year ahead of the South American OPEC member's October 7 vote politics are dominated by two issues: the health of socialist leader Chavez after cancer treatment, and who will win the Democratic Unity coalition's February primary. The three frontrunners in the opposition tussle ahead of the February primary are state governors Henrique Capriles Radonski and Pablo Perez, and former district mayor Leopoldo Lopez. (Reuters, 11-02-2011;

Chavez says he needs more time, prepares new administration
After 12 years in office, Hugo Chavez says he needs more time ruling the country in order to fulfill his task; and says he has started plans for his 2013-2019 term, which he calls the second stage of the “revolution” and says it will be to strengthen XXI century socialism. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 11-04-2011;

Chavez foes criticize big boost in 2012 budget
Opposition leaders criticized lawmakers loyal to Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez on Wednesday for sharply boosting the government's budget, saying they suspect it is meant to help the president's bid for re-election. Pro-Chavez lawmakers who hold a majority in the National Assembly have proposed a 2012 budget totaling U$D 69 billion, which is a 45.6% rise from this year's budget. Legislators are expected to approve the budget within several weeks. Chavez's opponents called the increase excessive, saying it will allow Chavez to spend lavishly to help augment his popularity before the election next Oct. 7. (AP, 11-02-2011;

Pollster: 50% thinks Venezuela needs a change of course
Oscar Schemel, CEO of the HINTERLACES polling firm, found that while 49% of respondents disagree with President Hugo Chávez s governance, they replied emotionally because he is a "charismatic leader". (El Universal, 11-02-2011;

TIME Magazine: Chavez goes after the islands of Venezuela's rich — and their yachts
President Hugo Chavez announced earlier this month he'd like to expropriate much of private property the resort archipelago of Los Roques for state tourism — including yachts, which he says would be better used for ferrying visitors. Chavez spoke on state television denouncing the "high bourgeoisie" and "international set" that frequent the islands. But while spoiling the high life might sound appealing to his supporters, environmentalists fear the President's plan could instead spoil Los Roques, one of the Caribbean's most gorgeous natural treasures — and one of the most fragile. "It was due to that "fragility," says former Tourism Minister Diego Arria, “that Los Roques was made a national park in 1972, to protect it from developers.” (Time,,8599,2097735,00.html#ixzz1cYYgXMXE)

19 new Ministries have been created in 12 years
Despite a December 8, 1998pledge by then President elect Chavez to bring the number of Ministries down to 11 or 12, the number of ministerial positions has been raised from 21 to 32 over the past 12 years. More in Spanish:. (El Universal, 11-04-2011;

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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