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, September 4, 2012

September 04, 2012

Economics & Finance

Official dollar holdings abroad drop
According to Central Bank reports the Government is reducing the amount of dollars it has abroad in order to keep up public spending amid the election campaign. Deposits abroad have gone down U$D 9.148 billion, from U$D 40.819 billion to U$D 31.671 billion. According to the ECOANALITICA firm this is a bad sign: "In an economy such as Venezuela's, that is vulnerable to oil prices and accelerated foreign debt, the balance of this account is of special interest to analysts, business and government itself."  More in Spanish: (El Universal;


State oil company's investments in welfare double those in oil refining
Since the beginning of the oil boom in 2004, state-run oil company PDVSA has been meeting a number of obligations, as it is forced to allocate a great part of its revenue into non-related activities. Company reports and accounts show that between 2007-2011 funds spent for social development, not including contributions to the National Development Fund (FONDEN) doubled the amount of investment made in oil refining. Whereas U$D 24.3 billion went to social programs and production projects, only U$D 11.8 billion have been invested in oil refining. (El Universal, 09-03-2012;

Amuay Refinery processing 264,000 BPD
Energy and Mining Minister Rafael Ramírez claims that the Amuay Refinery - which caught fire after an explosion on August 25th - is now processing up to 264,000 barrels per day, from Units 2,3 and 4. He also says 65 cisterns loaded with asphalt were dispatched yesterday from the plant. (Veneconomy, 09-03-2012;; AVN, and more in Spanish: El Universal;; El Mundo,

Venezuela says it’s looking at everything in refinery blast
Venezuela’s government has not ruled out any theory in the investigation into the Aug. 25 explosion at the Amuay refinery that killed 42 people, but “there’s no way” that the proper maintenance was neglected, claims Energy and Mines Minister Rafael Ramirez. “We cannot rule out any hypothesis. We’re working on the basis that we need to clarify ... the origin of this situation,” he said. “However, there are things that can be ruled out,” the minister said. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 09-02-2012;

Logistics & Transport

Resources allocated for river transportation company
President Hugo Chavez has approved VEB 220 million to create a new river transportation company with four routes on the Apure and Orinoco rivers, in the plains." (AVN; 09-02-2012;

CADIVI has allocated U$D 998.62 million for airline operations
The Currency Board says it has allocated over U$D 998.62 million to national and international airlines, according to Marisela de Loaiza, a representative for the International Air Transport Association. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Over 10% of voters took part in practice balloting
More than 10% of voters participated in a mock election last Sunday, according to Socorro Hernández, a director at the National Elections Council (CNE). She said that 99% of the transmitted data had been processed by 8:00 PM, and that results would not be released as it had not been called for in this the simulated balloting. (El Universal, 09-03-2012;;

Venezuela coordinated contacts between the FARC and Bogota
Preliminary contacts between the Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in order to prepare a negotiating agenda, were conducted in Venezuela and Cuba, according to Colombian press sources. According to the newspaper El Tiempo of Bogota, a meeting was met in the city of Barinas "with the help" of President Hugo Chavez, and in Havana there were about ten meetings with the support of Raúl Castro, AFP quoted. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 09-03-2012;

Chávez vows to keep exchange controls, Capriles seeks to create investor confidence
Although the point has not been in his election platform, President Chavez has repeatedly said that if he remains in office exchange controls will become a fixture, and on May 20, 2005 he said these controls were not transitory but rather a key instrument in the Government's economic strategy. More in Spanish: (El Universal;

NEWSWEEK Report: Henrique Capriles Radonski: The Guy Gunning for Chavez
If elections were simply endurance contests, Venezuela’s Oct. 7 presidential contest would be a romp. Young, hyperactive, and these days sweating, Henrique Capriles Radonski of the opposition coalition has turned the race in this oil-rich, politically vertiginous South American nation into a political version of the Ironman Triathlon. Juiced by opinion polls that show him gaining on incumbent Hugo Chávez, the governor has been tearing around Venezuela to make his case. Covering several towns in a day, his stamina is politico-athletic as he addresses crowds, greets press, and shoots hoops with the kids. More: (The Daily Beast, 09-02-2012;

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