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, August 3, 2012

August 03rd, 2012

Economics & Finance

Big Mac index: Venezuelan currency overvalued by 83%
The Big Mac index computed by The Economist showed that the Venezuelan Bolívar is the most overvalued currency worldwide with respect to the US dollar, reflecting the imbalance of the Venezuelan economy.
The Big Mac index is based on the purchasing-power parity theory that provides that the exchange rate between two currencies is balanced when the price of a single product is the same in both countries. For such reference, a Big Mac burger is commonly used. According to the index, overvaluation of the Venezuelan currency stood at 83% by the end of July. (El Universal, 08-02-2012;

S&P sustains PDVSA's B+ credit rating
Petróleos de Venezuela received a credit rating of B+ from Standard & Poor's (S&P), which considers that the prospects for the Venezuelan oil conglomerate will remain stable. S&P explained that the B+ rating on Pdvsa reflects its opinion that "PDVSA's relationship with the government will not change significantly over the next few years." (El Universal, 08-01-2012;

PDVSA to allocate up to U$D 7 billion a year to repay debt
State-run oil firm Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) will need to earmark between U$D 4 billion and U$D 7 billion a year through 2017 to repay the heavy commitments it has contracted after five years of rapid indebtedness. This would force the oil holding to refinance its debt amid sluggish oil prices. The oil firm has resorted to issuing dollar-denominated bonds to finance current expenditure. PDVSA has also contracted several private loans in recent years, in the light of skyrocketing fund transfers to the government and stagnant oil production. (El Universal, 08-01-2012;

Chavez says domestic production to increase through MERCOSUR
President Hugo Chavez says the country's accession as full member of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) is an opening for "a new horizon which will allow increasing domestic production", and will favor the establishment of complementary productive chains in the areas of manufacturing, industry, science and technology. (AVN, 08-02-2012;

Industry says entry into MERCOSUR requires a change in economic policy
Venezuela´s entry into the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) will force the government to "fully revise its economic policies", says the Venezuelan Industry Confederation (CONINDUSTRIA). Businessmen say that policies adopted over the recent years hit competitiveness, "investment, development and employment within industry." (El Universal, 08-02-2012;


PDVSA to have oil fields in Argentina, will develop shale oil
State oil company PDVSA will have oil fields in Argentinean waters, says President Hugo Chavez. Venezuela and Argentina signed an agreement for a strategic alliance between state oil companies PDVSA and YPF, after a meeting between presidents Hugo Chavez and Cristina Fernandez in Brazil. The agreement will lead PDVSA to develop shale gas and oil gas in Argentina, which has the largest reserves of shale gas in South America, approximately 774 TCF billion cubic feet. (AVN, 08-02-2012;

Oil and byproducts sales to the US down 12.8% in May
Oil exports to the United States are on a clear downward trend. Consolidated data from the US Department of Energy indicate that during the period from January to May 2012, Venezuelan exports of oil and oil byproducts to the United States dropped 12.8% compared to the same period last year. During the first five months of 2012, oil exports averaged 866,000 bpd, down from 1.01 million barrels in the same period last year. In May, oil exports to the US totaled 861,000 barrels per day, down 13.8% compared to 999,000 barrels in May 2011, according to the US Energy Department. (El Universal, 08-01-2012;

SIDOR President fired by Chavez
Carlos D'Oliveira, who had been ratified in his position as President of SIDOR on July 19, has been fired by Chavez due to protests by some 1600 employees for an outsourcing firm whose relationship with PDVSA was terminated on July 31. D'Oliveira's discharge took place "over the telephone and without much protocol". Basic Industries Vice Minister Carlos Faría, the brother of Jesus Faría, Chairman of the Basic Industries Special Committee at the National Assembly, has been temporarily been named in his place. More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 08-03-2012,

Agribusiness hopes urea exports do not hurt internal supply, after Chavez announces the possibility of exporting the product to Brazil in a "very, very short term". More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-03-2012;

International Trade

Chavez agrees to talk to automotive industry
President Hugo Chavez has ordered the Ministry of Industry to listen to the proposals by the Venezuelan automotive industry about the country's entry into the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), after the sector asked to be excluded from the agreement. "We have to listen to them. (Minister of Industry Ricardo) Menéndez, there should be a meeting with them," said Chávez during a press conference with local and foreign journalists. (El Universal, 08-02-2012;

Venezuela paid U$D 1 billion in old debt for Colombian exports
According to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Venezuela has paid U$D 1 billion in debts with Colombian exporters, and Colombian exports to Venezuela are likely to rise to U$D 3 billion by the end of the year. He also said U$D 200 million payments are still pending "as it has not been proven that Venezuela actually owned such amount of money; we have found fake exports in our records". (El Universal, 08-02-2012;

PDVSA exported 275,000 tons of coke in July
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) announced that during July it has dispatched 275,000 tons of coke to markets in Europe, the Middle East and South America. More in Spanish: (AVN, 08-03-2012;ó-275-mil-toneladas-coque-durante-julio; El Universal,

Uruguay's President Mujica says Venezuela's entry into MERCOSUR gives a vigorous impulse to the region
"Venezuela will be our third trading partner," said Mujica after expressing his wish for Uruguayan dairy products to secure successful positioning in Venezuela's market. (AVN, 08-02-2012;


Chávez says that the IACHR Court and Commission ought to vanish
President Hugo Chavez says that both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Human Rights Court should vanish. He says the IACHR Court is "abominable, rotten and disgraceful," and added that both institutions shall cease to exist as they are not up to the challenges of the new world. (El Universal, 08-02-2012;

Legislator charges Chavez brother tried to "buy" Paraguayan votes
Jorge Oviedo, President of the Paraguayan Congress, has charged that a brother of President Chavez offered Paraguayan Senator Zulma Gomez U$D 100,000 to promote Venezuela's entry into MERCOSUR. Senator Gomez made her accusation in October 2011. President Chavez has charged that a group of Paraguayan senators were demanding "millions of dollars" to approve Venezuela's entry into the MERCOSUR Common Market. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-03-2012;

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