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, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012

Economics & Finance

Ministry of Trade says the investment environment in Venezuela are discouraging
Conditions for investing in Venezuela are uncertain. The 2011 Report by the Ministry of Trade, mentions uncertainty as one of the "hurdles" in its chapter referring to the Foreign Investment Superintendence (SIEX). "Uncertainty regarding existing investment opportunities," according to the report, which adds: "Regulations are anachronistic and run counter to the new socio-productive framework." (El Universal, 03-19-2012;

Public debt rose from 18.45% to 25.2% of GDP in one year
The annual report submitted by the Central Bank (BCV) to the National Assembly, shows that the size of the total public debt (not including PDVSA’s) went from 18.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010 to 25.2% at the end of last year. Venezuelan officials insist public indebtedness is perfectly manageable. (Veneconomy, 03-19-2012;

Finance Ministry charges that the private sector is not committed to socialism
Planning and Finance Ministry Report for 2011 says the private sector is not following the socialist model, which is being promoted since 2007, adding that an obstacle to its plans was "lack of commitment from the private sector to take the initiative taken by the Executive for implementation socialist productive model." It also says that in 2012 it will be necessary to "promote the companies implementing the socialist system, which would optimize fiscal policy actions implemented by the Ministry of Finance". More in Spanish: (El Universal, 03-19-2012;


Oil reserves total 2.1 billion barrels
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining reports that 2.1 billion barrels to oil proven reserves have been added as of December 31, 2011. Most of the reserves, 1.2 billion barrels, are located in the country traditional areas, and in existent offshore condensates Cardón IV, Campo Perla in Falcón state, and Marshal Sucre Project. The remaining 984,000 barrels are located at Orinoco Oil Belt. (El Universal, 03-19-2012;

Domestic oil basket rises to U$D 116.53
The average price of the Venezuelan oil basket gained U$D 71 cents during the week from March 12 to 16, to U$D 116.53, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining (Menpet), which added that the average price of Venezuela's oil basket amounts to U$D 111.15 year to date. (El Universal, 03-16-2012;

ALCASA expects to begin exporting aluminum again
ALCASA expects to recover exporting capacity this year thanks to a credit from China, says company president Angel Marcano. More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 03-20-2012;

Government agencies supply a 62.6% market share of basic foods
The Government has become the main distributor and supplier of basic foodstuff such as rice, coffee, cooking oil, cornmeal, powdered milk, sugar, beans, tuna, beef and others, through agencies such as MERCAL, PDVAL and the Bicentenario supermarket chain. It has also become the key supplier of imported staples for the private sector since for the past three years it is the only authorized buyer abroad for rice, white corn, coffee, crude sugar, certain oils, chicken, cattle and frozen beef. According to the annual report of the Nourishment Ministry the total national demand for food is estimated at 6 million tons, and the Government supplies over 3.75 million tons. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 03-20-2012;


Chavez home in a week facing more cancer therapy
President Hugo Chavez sang, danced with his daughter and vowed on Saturday to win a presidential election this year, a day after returning from what he said was a successful operation to remove a second tumor. "The beating we're going to give the Venezuelan right will be memorable ... not just in the history of Venezuela but in almost all the world," he told thousands of red-clad, ecstatic supporters gathered outside the presidential palace. But so little is known about his health - even what type of cancer he is suffering from has not been revealed - that big doubts remain over whether the normally energetic Chavez will be able to campaign ahead of the October 7 vote. Chavez said on Saturday he will undergo radiation therapy in the coming days, but it is unclear whether that will take place in Caracas or back in Havana. (Reuters, 03-17-2012;

Chile slams the murder of consul's daughter
The Chilean government "strenuously" condemned on Sunday the killing last Saturday of Karen Berendique, the daughter of the ad-honorem Chilean consul to Maracaibo, the capital city of western Zulia state, presumably by police agents. In a press release the Chilean Foreign Ministry requested "clarification of the events as soon as possible" and expressed its sympathy to the family, Efe quoted. The Chilean Foreign Office fingered members of the Scientific, Criminal and Forensic Investigation Agency (CICPC) as suspects for the shooting. The Interior Ministry confirmed the capture of 12 CICPC agents "involved in this irregular practice." (El Universal, 03-19-2012;

UN starts Guyana assessment application
The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has begun its 29th session, scheduled to run through to April 27, during which it will discuss the application by Guyana to extend the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. Venezuela has argued against the request which - according to experts - should lead to the resumption of negotiations between the two countries under the UN good offices, to find "a solution satisfactory for the practical settlement of the dispute, "according to the Geneva Agreement of February 1966. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 03-19-2012;

Venezuela is the largest arms buyer in Latin America - Purchases rose 555% from 2007 to 2011.
According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute the Venezuelan government purchased 555% more weapons from 2007 to 2011 more than the period covered from 2002 to 2006. The increase is comparable to the 580% increase of weapons purchases made by Syria from Russia during the same time frame. By making these arms purchases, mainly from Russia, Venezuela has risen from 46 to 15 globally among nations with the most weapons purchases. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 03-20-2012;

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