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, December 13, 2011

December 13th, 2011

Economics & Finance

Morgan Stanley projects Venezuela inflation around 28% until 2014
The Morgan Stanley investment banking firm pegs inflation at 28% over the next three years, 2012 to 2014. It indicates any reduction will not have a price variation beneath 18%. More in Spanish. (El Nacional, 12-13-2011;

Food inflation at 34%; November CPI at 2.2%
While the Government forecasts lower future inflation numbers, repressed price increases and increased monetary liquidity keep fueling inflation with the November national index, the INPC, coming in at 2.2%, higher than the 1.8% of the month of October. With this, 2011 inflation has now reached 25.4% with one month to go, while twelve-month inflation as of November 2011 reached 27.6%, higher than the 27% in November 2010. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 12-12-2011;

Supreme Court rules land takeovers are not a crime, decision called unconstitutional
The Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber has depenalized property invasion as established by the Penal Code. Court President Luisa Estella Morales said the decision was taken when reviewing the case of two peasants accused of property invasion in Guárico State. The Supreme Court sentence overturns two key articles of the Penal Code in cases where “there is a conflict between private parties derived from agricultural activities” and weakens the right to private property. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 12-13-2011;;  El Universal;; El Nacional;

Land Institute has taken over 8.89 million acres in seven years
The Government has taken over 2,340 estates with an area of 9,073.790 acres in 23 states between 2004 and 2011, through a policy which "combats large estates." After 10 years of implementation of the Law on Lands and Agrarian Development, the INTI has handed over 175,129 agrarian titles through the Zamora Mission which "have directly benefited more than 170,000 peasant families," according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAT). (El Universal, 12-12-2011;

The country has been regressing economically for 13 years
After 13 years of the initial election of Hugo Chavez as President, oil income provides 95% of hard currency and over 50% of public spending; oil production has gone down 22%; and the share of non oil related products has gone from 30% to 5% of total exports. Over 40% of industries operating in 1998 have gone bankrupt. Agricultural production has gone from exporting and self sufficiency to importing coffee, rice, beef, chicken, milk and many other foodstuffs. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 12-13-2011;

PDVSA transfers to social development fund up 954%
Throughout the first half of this year, crude oil prices averaged U$D 98 per barrel, a situation that generated growth in both revenues (37%) and earnings (64%). Under this scenario and also as a result of tax adjustments, state-run oil company PDVSA also raised its social development expenses by 954%. (El Universal, 12-10-2011;


PDVSA gets official financial support
Financial statements of state-run oil holding Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) reflect that since 2007 several government entities have provided financial aid to PDVSA, as the oil giant's cash flow falls short of meeting its obligations. PDVSA has received U$D 40 billion in four years through the issuance of bonds and in loans from the National Treasury Office, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), state-run Venezuelan Bank for Economic and Social Development (BANDES), Banco del Tesoro and Banco de Venezuela, as well as the Bank Deposit Guarantee and Protection Fund (FOGADE). (El Universal, 12-12-2011;

Pasteurized milk production down 37,5%
According to Edecio Pineda, president of the Milk Processing Industry Association (ASOPROLE) price controls, lower productivity and unfair competition have brought down production of pasteurized milk 37,5%, down from 1.200 million liters a day in 2010 to an average 750 liters daily in 2011. Half is produced by state owned Lacteos Los Andes. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 12-13-2011;

International Trade

Trade agreements increased an import-centered economy in Venezuela
Carlos Larrazabal, president of the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (CONINDUSTRIA) says agreements reached at the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLACS), recently held in Caracas, will increase Venezuela's dependence on imports. He says: "The agreements were purchase orders" of goods that will be imported by the State. (El Universal, 12-12-2011;

Logistics & Transport

Government has destined $50 million to improve harbors in Venezuela
The Government of Venezuela is investing U$D 50 million to purchase machinery for the modernization and rehabilitation of the 6 ports in the country (Puerto Cabello, La Guaira, Maracaibo, El Guamache, Guanta and La Ceiba). The ports are managed by the state company Bolivariana de Puertos (BOLIPUERTOS). The announcement was made by the Maritime and Air Transport minister, Elsa Gutierrez, who said all the investment has come from the profits generated by the own harbors. (AVN; 12-09-2011;


Chavez claims he canceled trip to Argentina, Brazil because of rains
President Hugo Chavez said he canceled a trip to Argentina and Brazil to deal with the heavy rains hitting the South American country. “Fortunately, I’m fine, my recovery continues,” Chavez said by telephone in comments carried on state television. “The trip was suspended because of the reasons I gave. The meteorological prognosis indicates that the situation continues to be unstable. It may continue raining.” It was to be his first trip outside of Venezuela since returning from Cuba Oct. 20 and declaring himself cured of cancer. (Bloomberg, 12-10-2011;

Chavez launches cash giveaway for poor kids
President Hugo Chavez launched on Monday a program to provide U$D 100 a month to poor Venezuelan children in the latest of a plethora of social "missions" that have underpinned his popularity. Chavez, who seeks re-election in 2012, says such measures show the tangible benefit of socialist rule in the South American OPEC member nation. But critics argue it is a pre-election ploy masking broader economic failure. Under the new program low-income households will be able to claim 430 bolivars (U$D 100) per month from the government for each child up to a maximum of three. Disabled dependents will qualify for 600 bolivars. (Reuters, 12-12-2011;

MERCOSUR seeks Venezuela incorporation
According to inside sources, the next meeting of MERCOSUR heads of state in Montevideo will seek different options for the incorporation of Venezuela, which remains stalled due to lack of approval by the Paraguayan Senate. They will also discuss the future incorporation of Ecuador and Bolivia, currently associate members. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 12-13-2011;

Venezuela is no model for the U.S.
Mary Anastasia O'Grady's "Chavez's 40-Year Plan to Conquer Vice" (Americas, Dec. 5) describing how Venezuela's buffoonish dictator Hugo Chávez intends to cure all the vices of mankind and thus create a socialistic utopia sounds a lot like "change you can believe in." The Obama Democrats/liberals/progressives/socialists subscribe to Jane Addams's words, "we must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection to the activity of the many." Their "vision" enshrines the notion that since not everyone is gifted with an entrepreneurial nature, the government is obligated to enact policies that limit personal enrichment and thus inequality. Such a society can never function unless man's baser instincts are brought under control, and it will never produce an Edison, Ford or Jobs. Thus, such a society can never have enough wealth to pay for the promised vast social entitlements, and even with its enormous oil income, we will soon witness the total collapse of Venezuela's economy. (The Wall Street Journal,

"Chavez Nativity" creates controversy in Venezuela
In the Bible, shepherds and wise men paid homage to the newborn baby Jesus. In Venezuela, it seems Hugo Chavez turned up in the manger, too. A Nativity scene in Caracas showing the socialist president standing before the traditional crib-in-a-manger has stirred up a pre-Christmas controversy in the politically polarized country. The model stands in a concourse of residential and business towers in central Caracas, has the traditional Christian scene at its heart. In the middle -- in front of and below Jesus's crib -- stands Chavez next to a model of his hero, South America's 18th century independence fighter Simon Bolivar. (Reuters, 12-09-2011;

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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