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, October 23, 2012

October 23th, 2012

Economics & Finance

World Bank ranks Venezuela among the most difficult nations for business
In its report on "Doing Business 2013: Smart regulations for small and medium business", prepared jointly with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank underlines "encouraging" and "important" efforts to improve business regulation in Latin America, headed by Chile, Perú, Colombia, México and Panama, and points to worsened conditions in other countries such as Argentina and Venezuela. Chile is 37th on the global rating, followed by Perú (43), Colombia (45), México (48) and Panama (61). Venezuela ranks 180th out of 185. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, 10-23-2012;

Minister says there are no plans to devalue currency
Venezuela isn’t studying a devaluation of its currency next year and the government will maintain levels of spending similar to those in 2012, El Nacional reported, citing central bank President Nelson Merentes. The central bank is allowing foreign currency reserves to fluctuate between U$D2 billion and U$F 5 billion, the Caracas-based daily cited Merentes as saying. (Bloomberg, 10-19-2012;

2013 budget premises to be presented to National Assembly, oil projections probably unchanged
Planning and Finance Minister Jorge Giordani is to present the premises for the 2013 Annual Budget and the Special Indebtedness Tax, along with the Annual Operational Plan before the National Assembly today, says Finance Committee Chairman Ricardo Sanguino. According to economist Luis Oliveros premises used for the oil industry will remain basically unchanged, estimating average oil prices at U$D 50 per barrel and production around 3.1 million BPD. (Veneconomy, 10-22-2012; and more in Spanish: El Mundo;

Economist says Venezuela will have no income problems in 2013
Economist Carlos Quenan estimates that due to tension in the Middle East and China's economic recovery oil prices will remain around U$D 100 per barrel and Venezuela will continue to sail untroubled. More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 10-23-2012;

Public spending estimated at VEB 528.8 billion by year end
According to ECOANALÍTICA, public spending will continue to grow and close 2012 around VEB 528.8 billion. Original estimates for 2012 were VEB 297.8 billion, but due to special authorizations it will rise by 77.6%, More in Spanish: (El Universal, 10-23-2012;

Gov't seeks stronger State presence in Venezuelan economy
Just a few months before reelected President Hugo Chávez begins his next term, clear signals are being sent that further steps will be taken to deepen the socialist model in Venezuela. The Government's goal is to reinforce the presence of the State in all sectors of Venezuelan economy. As soon as Juan Carlos Loyo was reappointed as minister of Agriculture and Lands, he stressed that he would continue the lands "recovery" policy currently in place. "Moving forward, continuing the lands recovery policy. Thus, it is not expropriation; it is recovery; it is about going back to the very beginning, to the lands of the people and the indigenous tribes. However, this time we are incorporating efficient production and efficient trade. We do not want to see agriculture products ending up in the hands of speculators but in the hands of Venezuelan families," Loyo said recently after being appointed. (El Universal, 10-22-2012;

Venezuelan bonds are good business
Alexis Mena, f the SOFTLINE economic consultant firm says that at first sight taking a position in Venezuelan bonds appears sensible as the nation has never once defaulted on its debt payments. He says prices have held firm and some are even overvalued. More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 22-10-2012;

Unemployment rate in September at 7.3%
Unemployment rate in September stood at 7.3%, a reduction of 1.0% versus September 2011 (8.3%), according to the monthly report on the workforce issued by the government´s National Statistics Institute (INE). In absolute terms, this means 1,010,510 jobless last month. Out of them, 897,417 were laid off and the other 113,093 unsuccessfully looked for their first job. In September 12,795,897 people were working, most of them in the formal sector of the economy (59%). (El Universal, 10-19-2012;


CVG BAUXILUM stops operations due to lack of inputs
The shortage of polymers used for alumina refining has forced the shutdown of the last operational stage at CVG BAUXILUM, which is the first link in aluminum industry production process. Workers say this is the first time that the plant has been paralyzed by shortages of any of the inputs. In addition, workers at BAUXILUM mines have gone on strike due to delays in wage payments. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 10-22-2012;; El Universal, 10-23-2012;

It seems impossible to raise oil production by 522,000 barrels per day (bpd) as planned by PDVSA in its work schedule for the Orinoco Oil Belt for this year, say sources in the local oil industry. Current production is 1.2 million bpd. There is no other known additional pumping besides early production announced last September by joint ventures PETROMIRANDA and PETROMACAREO in the Junín 6 and 2 blocs. (Veneconomy, 10-22-2012;

Venezuelan oil basket climbs to U$D 102.47
Venezuelan oil prices slightly surged during the week of October 15-19, ending at U$D 102.47 per barrel on average, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining reported. This means a hike of U$D 0.35 in the value of the Venezuelan oil basket over its price last week. The Ministry explained that "the hikes recorded ending last week allowed the average prices of crude oils to finish this period on the rise, backed by the concern about the supplies due to geopolitical tension in the Middle East and maintenance work in the North Sea." (El Universal, 10-19-2012;

International Trade

Venezuela-Colombia trade agreement enters info force
Trade relations between Colombia and Venezuela have entered a new stage, following the entry into force of the Partial Scope Agreement (AAP), which will regulate bilateral trade, according to the Colombian Ministry of Trade.
The AAP will allow the entry of Colombian exports into the Venezuelan market free from tariffs, the ministry explained. The Agreement contains about 4,921 product lines for Colombia and 4,713 product lines for Venezuela, AFP cited. However, the Binational Chamber of Commerce says application of the agreement will be delayed at several customs offices that have not yet adapted to the new system. (El Universal, 10-19-2012;; and more in Spanish: El Mundo,

Meat imports from Brazil up 25% this year
Venezuela bought 188,000 tons of meat from Brazil for a total of U$D 590 million, as the volume of beef imports rose 25% year to date, above the same period last year. More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 10-22-2012;

Rules for Venezuela's adjustment to MERCOSUR will be completed before year-end, according to Isabel Delgado, Executive Secretary of the Presidential Commission for the accession of Venezuela to the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), who announced the new rules "will be largely completed by the end of the year." More in Spanish: (AVN, 10-22-2012;ón-normativa-sobre-ingreso-venezuela-al-mercosur-concluirá-antes-fin-año)

Colombia is an ally in supplying local market, according to statements by the Agriculture and Land Ministers of both nations, Juan Carlos Loyo y Carlos Osorio, who say the doors are open for broader integration. More in Spanish: (Últimas Noticias, 10-22-2012;

Logistics & Transport

Venezuela may invest U$D 300 Million to start flights to Beijing and Moscow
Venezuela is considering investments of up to U$D 300 million for the purchase of long-range aircraft to begin intercontinental flights to “allied” countries like China and Russia, according to Elsa Gutiérrez, Minister for Aquatic and Air Transport. She said that after strengthening national and regional connections with the purchase of six Brazilian EMBRAER aircraft at a cost of U$D 270 million, state airline CONVIASA is now working on buying aircraft “to serve different international destinations with direct flights.”“When we say Russia and China, we’re not talking just about Russia and China and nothing else – we want to be able to offer Venezuelans and businessmen access and connection facilities in a competitive but not an unregulated way,” she said in stressing the importance of connecting Caracas with the capitals of those two countries. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 10-19-2012;


Gubernatorial election campaign starts on November 1
Sandra Oblitas, the Vice-President of the National Electoral Council (CNE), reported on Friday that the election campaign for state governors starts on December 16. She explained that the regulations have been endorsed and the whole election process is being assessed.
She informed that the CNE system got a positive score of the "highest turnout" in the presidential election of October 7. The senior officer remembered that around 15 million voters cast their ballots on October 7. (El Universal, 10-19-2012;

Mitt Romney charges Obama with weakness toward Chavez
During the last of three debates, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney charged that President Barack Obama showed weakness internationally by coming closer to Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro and Mahmud Ahmadinejad. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 10-23-2012;

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