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, January 10, 2012

January 10th, 2012

Economics & Finance

Chavez vows to reject arbitration in EXXON case
President Hugo Chavez says that Venezuela would not recognize a ruling by a World Bank panel in a multibillion-dollar arbitration case with the EXXON MOBIL Corporation. “I tell you now, we will not recognize any decision by the center, Mr. Chavez said during a televised speech. “They are trying the impossible: to get us to pay them,” he said. “We are not going to pay them anything.” It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Chavez was also referring to about 20 other cases that Venezuela faces before the World Bank’s arbitration panel that were prompted by a wave of state takeovers in recent years. They include separate multibillion-dollar proceedings brought by ConocoPhillips, another major American oil company. (The New York Times, 01-09-2012;

Leaving ICSID to hit foreign investment
Arbitration specialist Luis Alfredo Araque predicts Venezuela’s withdrawal from the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) will scare away foreign investment. “No one in their right mind will invest in a country that is not in ICSID”, says Araque, who considers the President’s threat a “very serious” matter which – if made effective – could be highly damaging to the nation. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 01-10-2012;

2012 inflation projected around 30%
Although the Government expects economic growth above 5% this year, analysts – such as IESA economis Hugo Faría – predict the country will suffer high inflation and indebtedness this year as a result of increased spending in support of President Chavez’s campaign for reelection. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 01-10-2012;

Public Stock Exchange readies for new Petro-Bond
According to the President of the Bicentennial Public Stock Exchange, Felix Franco, they are getting ready for a new issue of Petro-Bonds to take place during the first five months of this year. He said during an interview “We expect the issue of Petro Bonds announced by President Chavez will be placed through the Public Stock Exchange in the secondary market”. More in Spanish: (AVN, 01-10-2012;ública-valores-se-prepara-para-emisión-petrobono; El Universal,


Venezuela's oil opens the year at U$D 108.27
The price of the Venezuelan oil basket started 2012 with a U$D 1.57 per barrel increase, to an average U$D 108.27, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Last week, Venezuelan oil basket closed at U$D 106.70 for an average skyrocketing price of U$D 101.04 per barrel in 2011. (El Universal, 01-06-2012;

Petropiar drilled 157.200 bpd in 2011
PETROPIAR, the joint venture led by state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) which operates at the Orinoco Oil Belt, had an average output of 157,200 barrels per day (bpd) during, which surpassed the initial goal set by the National Budget Office (Onapre) of 155,300 bpd on a yearly average. (El Universal, 01-06-2012;

Chavez says the Orinoco Oil Belt project will bolster economic development
President Chavez says that the Orinoco Socialist Plan, to be developed along the Orinoco Oil Belt, will be the main tool for the economic development of the country and for the a newly launched program aimed at promoting productive employment in the country. According to governmental estimations bout 300,000 job posts will be created in the entire area in the next years. The Orinoco Oil Belt is the world's largest liquid hydrocarbon reserves and it covers 4 states in Venezuela (Delta Amacuro, Guárico, Anzoátegui and Monagas). (AVN, 01-08-2012;

Government predicts it will raise iron production to 20 million tons in 2012…
President Chavez claimed on national television that the Government expects to increase iron production to about 20 million tons during 2012. (AVN, 01-09-2012;

and says it will increase cement production capacity by 27% in 2013
Industry Vice Minister Raul Pacheco announced that through official investments in the cement production, capacity is expected to increase by 27% by 2013; that is about 11.54 million tons a year. Pacheco made the statement from the Cerro Azul cement plant that is under construction in cooperation with Iran. (AVN, 01-09-2012;

Indepabis has published an updated list of price controlled items
The Institute for the Defense of People’s Access to Goods and Services (INDEPABIS) has updated a list of over 100 items in the basic foods category on its web page: Key items are vegetable oil, sugar, coffee, poultry, beef, milk, cheese, rice, sorghum, corn, precooked corn flour, pasta, and canned foods. More in Spanish: (AVN, 01-10-2012;

International Trade

Venezuela, Peru in pacts on oil investments, trade
The presidents of Venezuela and Peru have reached an agreement for the Peruvian state oil company to invest in development of Venezuela's eastern Orinoco oil belt. PDVSA will study a possible role in developing a petrochemical complex in Peru as well as helping Peru increase its production of heavy and extra heavy crude oil. The formal agreement came during a Saturday meeting between President Hugo Chavez and Peruvian leader Ollanta Humala, while representatives of the two governments signed agreements establishing mechanisms for transportation, storage, refining and marketing of hydrocarbons. Other pacts cover the sale in Peru of tractors and other farm implements made in Venezuela. The main Peruvian private sector organization, CONFIEP, has criticized the agreements, saying they are of no advantage to Peru. Venezuela’s imports from Peru rose 422,6% over the past 13 years, from U$D 88.4 million to U$D 462.1 million last year; but exports dropped 73,78%, from U$D 143.4 million in 1999 to U$D 37.5 million in 2011.  (AJC, 01-07-2012; and more in Spanish: El Nacional, 01-09-2012;

Venezuela to strengthen cooperation with Nicaragua
Venezuela’s ambassador to Nicaragua, María Alejandra Ávila, announced that cooperation agreements with that country will increase after the reelection of Daniel Ortega for a second term in office. The two countries are already undertaking several projects, all of which are covered by the PETROCARIBE energy agreement. PDVSA América maintains ALBANILISA operations in Nicaragua in order to purchase such items as beef, beans, rice and coffee for distribution in Venezuela through official outlets. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 01-09-2012; and AVN;

Logistics & Transport

Patrol vessels to be built in Puerto Cabello by Cuban technicians
It is projected that during the first quarter of this year manufacturing of patrol vessels by Cuban technicians will begin at the Puerto Cabello Naval Base, based on a January 5th agreement signed by the Defense Ministry and Cuba's Ministry for Transportation. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 01-09-2012;


Chavez defends Ahmadinejad against 'US warmongering'…
President Hugo Chavez defended his close ally Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said:  "They accuse us of being warmongers," Chavez said. "They're the threat." He also accused the U.S. and its European allies of demonizing Iran and using false claims about the nuclear issue "like they used the excuse of weapons of mass destruction to do what they did in Iraq." Both leaders planned to travel to Nicaragua on Tuesday for the inauguration of newly re-elected President Daniel Ortega, and then Ahmadinejad will also visit Cuba and Ecuador. Laughing, Chavez said Ahmadinejad is traveling through "the axis of evil of Latin America." (AP, 01-09-2012;

…But makes no oil deals with Iran
On the other hand, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters the government had not made any oil-related agreements with Iran. On the issue of sanctions against Iran and its threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, Ramirez said OPEC, to which both countries belong, could not get involved in the issue. "Any action that Iran takes in defense of its sovereignty is a matter of Iran," Ramirez said. (AP, 01-09-2012;

Venezuelan consul in Miami ordered to leave U.S. for discussing cyber-attacks
In a move likely to further strain relations between the United States and Venezuela, the State Department on Sunday said that it had ordered Livia Acosta Noguera, Venezuela’s consul general in Miami, to leave the country. The decision to expel Acosta was made one month after Spanish-language Univision Network broadcast a documentary about Iran’s alleged terrorist activities in Latin America, including a taped segment in which the consul reportedly asks an alleged Mexican hacker to give her access codes to nuclear facilities in the United States. President Hugo Chavez called the decision a show of “arrogance by the ridiculous empire”; and Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro said they would give the US a “clear and firm” response. (Miami Herald, 01-08-2012; and more in Spanish: Noticiero Venevisión, and Tal Cual;

President Chavez to attend Nicaragua's Ortega inauguration
President Chavez announced Sunday that he will travel next Tuesday Jan. 10 to Managua, Nicaragua, to attend the inauguration of his counterpart Daniel Ortega. (AVN, 01-09-2012;

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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