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, November 30, 2012

November 30th, 2012

Economics & Finance

Bank of America anticipates an improved scenario for Venezuelan bonds
The increasing chances for devaluation and spending cuts have led Bank of America improve its view of the financial standing of the Venezuelan government.  The bank believes spending cuts and funds derived from devaluation will broaden Venezuela's ability to repay principal amount and interest of bonds issued by the Republic and state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). According to Bank of America, Venezuela's public spending has lowered by 13% over the six weeks following the presidential election, which - together with potential exchange rate adjustment - could reduce the central government fiscal deficit from 8.8% of GDP in 2012 to 2.2% next year. (El Universal, 11-29-2012;; Bloomberg, 11-28-2012;

Excess liquidity clogs financial system
The government has injected so much liquidity into the economy that financial institutions are having problems accommodating the surplus. One financial institution executive says: "We are telling companies that have fixed term deposits that become due that we will renew them at zero interest rates, and many accept as they know they will not find anything different at other banks." During October banks held a monthly average VEB 34 billion above reserves required by the Central Banks, and at the close of November the amount jumped by 82% to VEB 62 billion. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-30-2012;

Stricter price controls in place
The National Superintendent for Costs and Prices (SUNDECOP) has now extended its control basic food, to personal care and cleaning products, fruit juices, compotes, and water, which indicated that price controls are hardening rather than becoming more flexible. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-30-2012;

Prices raised on coffee, rice and corn flour
New maximum authorized sale prices for precooked corn flour, white rice and ground coffee have been published, according to a joint resolution by the Ministries for Planning and Finance, Agriculture and Lands, Food and Industries. The new price for precooked corn flour per kilogram was set at VEB 5.59 for industry, 5.76 for wholesalers and 5.93 for retailers. The new price of white rice per kilogram was fixed at VEB 6.79 for industry, 6.99 for wholesalers and 7.20 for retailers. As for ground coffee, for industry the kilo will cost VEB 42.74, Bs. 44.02 for wholesalers; and Bs. 46.66 for retailers. (AVN, 11-28-2012;; Veneconomy,; El Universal,; Bloomberg,


PDVSA analyzing valuation and compensation for oil service companies expropriated in Zulia State
Three years after oil industry service companies were expropriated on the East Bank of Lake Maracaibo, PDVSA has announced it is negotiating valuations and repayment of 45 out of 141 expropriated in the region. Alfredo Hernández-Raffalli, President of the nation's Petroleum Chamber, considers it a "very important step for PDVSA to acknowledge the obligation to pay indemnities for assets expropriated", and says the process is advancing considerably. Eulogio del Pino, PDVSA Vice President for Exploration and Production, and Ricardo Coronado, Executive Director of its Western Division, told a group of over 30 company owners that repayment would take place before May 2013, but did not say whether repayment will be in cash or in bonds, as has been suggested in the past. Del Pino said "PDVSA acknowledges the investments they made and this is why we will do this transparently, through direct negotiations". Expropriated companies hope to that assets valued in foreign currency are paid for in foreign currency. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-30-2012;

Logistics & Transport

Business leaders call for expedited dispatches
CONSECOMERCIO's Customs Committee Chairperson, Cipriana Ramos, has charged that massive processing of merchandise has not worked, that the Port Authority (BOLIPUERTOS) has admitted to congestion, and is calling for direct dispatches from the docks. She asked the Port Authority to apply SIDUNEA customs processing procedures which call for electronic inspection and avoids sending merchandise to the yards. Ramos reports that BOLIPUERTOS has been using the discretionary "green light" system selectively, and should be available to all. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, 11-30-2012;  and El Nacional;


Chávez undergoing treatment in Cuba for the 11th time in 17 months
President Hugo Chávez missed attending Military Aviation Day ceremonies on the anniversary of the coup d'état that took place on November 27, 1992. More than one year after the Venezuelan president was diagnosed with cancer and for the 11th time since June 2011, again travelled to Cuba to undergo treatment. This time, he will be receiving a "special treatment:" hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Chávez was last seen in public on November 15 during a meeting with his cabinet. Twelve days later, he made the news as National Assembly's President Diosdado Cabello read out a statement issued by Chávez asking permission to leave the country to undergo the previously mentioned therapy. (El Universal, 11-28-2012;;; Latin American Herald Tribune,; Reuters,;; The Washington Post,; CNN,

Chávez misses second summit meeting in two weeks
President Hugo Chavez is not attending a South American Nations Union (UNASUR) meeting currently underway in Perú, the second such summit he has not attended in two weeks. His absences could rise to 3 if he cannot attend a MERCOSUR Heads of State meeting scheduled to be held in Brasilia on December 7th. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-30-2012;

Maduro claims Chavez "is well"
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's Executive Vice President and Foreign Minister said yesterday that President Hugo Chávez "is well, very well, and will return much better". The Vice President said "Chavez won the October 7th elections and will continue to be President for the remainder of this decade and beyond." More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-30-2012;

New Presidential succession legislation proposed
With President Chavez again in Cuba for special cancer treatment, the debate has begun anew over who would succeed him if he becomes unable to serve the entire term of office he was reelected to, or if he is unable to reach his new term which begins on January 10th. Given differing opinions on who should succeed if he dies or becomes unable to serve, Luis Herrera, a professor of Constitutional Law at the Catholic University, proposes the enactment of a new law to clear away all doubts. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-30-2012;

Opposition governor in Venezuela charges his supporters were attacked during campaign event
Henri Falcon, opposition governor of Lara state in central Venezuela says he and his followers were attacked with guns, tear gas and stones during a political event, presumably by rival ruling party supporters. Falcon, who is running for re-election in Lara, said six people were injured in the violence, though he didn't describe the injuries or their severity. The alleged attack took place during a campaign swing in northeast Barquisimeto, capital of Lara state. (Fox News, 11-27-2012;

Venezuela is calling for full UN Membership for Palestine
Venezuela's Ambassador to the UN, Jorge Valero, has called for Palestine's full membership in the United Nations and accused Israel of "state terrorism" against the Palestinian people. More in Spanish: (AVN, 11-30-2012;

First Venezuelan Mayor in Florida
Luigi Bora, a Venezuelan businessman, was sworn in as Mayor of Doral, in South Florida. (Veneconomy, 11-28-2012;

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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27th, 2012

Economics & Finance

Chavez choking on Bolivars to spur Venezuelan bond sales
The bolivar’s plunge to a record on the black market is pressuring Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to end the longest drought of dollar-bond sales in five years. Venezuela hasn’t issued bonds denominated in U.S. currency since October last year, after selling a record U$D 7.2 billion in the first 10 months of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Latin America’s largest oil producer, last sold dollar-denominated notes in May. The yearlong drought is leaving the central bank without enough dollars for Venezuelans to buy at official fixed rates, sparking the bolivar’s 42% drop this year in the unregulated market. The bolivar declined 6.2% today. (Bloomberg, 11-26-2012;

Devaluation will increase debt cost to the economy
As the Government considers devaluation under growing pressure from the gap between official income and expenditure, it must also deal with the fact that a devaluation will increase the share of indebtedness within the economy. According to a study by José Guerra and Luis Oliveros, economy professors at the Central University, while further devaluation dilutes the domestic debt as fewer dollars are needed to meet it, it also shrinks GDP, FOREX debt remain the same, country risk rises and interest rates shoot up. As standing debt service costs rise, taking up a larger budget share, resources dry up for health, education and infrastructure. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-27-2012;

Non-oil exports at the worst level since 1997
Venezuela's entry into the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) takes place at the worst time for local industry. Dependence on oil revenues, higher imports, and small export capacity are just some of the features of the nation's current economy. Data from the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) shows that non-oil exports in the third quarter accounted for U$D 816 million, 30% below the figure recorded during the same period in 2011. Lower exports were reported at 33.33% and 26.7% in the public and private sectors, respectively. "In the public sector, exports of iron, steel, and aluminum plummeted whereas chemicals increased. Likewise, private sales slumped, particularly those of gold, propylene, hydrogen peroxide, nickel, and ferrosilicon," the BCV explained. (El Universal, 11-26-2012;

Imports spike record consumption
Venezuela's economy has had steady growth over the last eight quarters, and so has consumption, which has skyrocketed over the past five quarters. Yet domestic demand has not been met by domestic production, but by imports. After shrinking for six consecutive quarters (2009-2010), private consumption has increased from 2.7% in the second quarter of 2010 to 7.8% by the end of the third quarter of 2012. In fact, the Central Bank reports the highest consumption in history in July-September this year. (El Universal, 11-26-2012;

Private construction drops by another 10.7% after steadily falling for 11 quarters
Last week, Finance and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani reported a 12.6% growth in construction. However, Central Bank data shows the activity increased due only to public projects as private construction continued to drop an additional 10.7% after an 11 quarter recession. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-27-2012;

CADIVI says October US dollar supply 4.5% above 2011
Manuel Barroso, President of Venezuela's Foreign Exchange Administration Commission (CADIVI) reports that U$D 26.9 have been supplied through the end of October, 4.5% above the amount authorized during the same period in 2011. U$D 21.3 billion (79%) went to imports; U$D 1.2 billion to financial operations; U$D 1.8 billion to family-related remittance, students, and special cases; and U$D 2.6 billion to travelers. Regarding imports he said, "There are no requests that may extend the given periods because of specific situations. The system works as usual." (El Universal, 11-26-2012;


EXXON and CONOCO purchase 28% of the crude oil PDVSA ships to the US
Despite arbitration procedures brought against PDVSA by CONOCO PHILLIPS and EXXON MOBIL, trade relations continue to the point that 28% of all oil PDVSA ships to the United States goes to these two companies. Information from the US Energy Department through August shows that PDVSA has been shipping an average 223,830 barrels daily to both companies; far above the 57,000 daily barrels of crude the government oil company is committed to send the Chalmette refinery, where it is an equal partner with EXXON. CONOCO maintains a supply contract for an average 190,000 BPD to the Sweeny refinery, in Texas. More in Spanish:  (El Nacional, 11-27-2012;

Venezuelan oil exports gained $1.29/bbl. driven by persistent concerns over supply disruptions due to tensions in the Middle East and an “unexpected” drop of inventories in the United States, says the Venezuelan Oil Ministry. The crude oil barrel averaged U$D 97.15/bbl. between November 19 and November 23 which took the average price for this year to U$D 104.09/bbl. (Veneconomy, 11-24-2012;; El Universal, 11-23-2012;

International Trade

RENAULT considering Venezuela plant
French automaker RENAULT is considering the possibility of creating a factory in Venezuela to increase its production capacity outside struggling Europe. RENAULT already has three plants in Latin America - in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia - as well as six factories in France. Venezuela's Industry Ministry and RENAULT have signed a "letter of intent for the installation of a vehicle assembly plant", the carmaker said in a statement on Monday. "Which will lead to a feasibility study for local production of vehicles," Renault said. (Reuters, 11-26-2012;; El Universal, 11-26-2012;

Logistics & Transport

Containers at bay increased by 223.3%
Cipriana Ramos, Chairperson of the FEDECÁMARAS Committee on Customs and Port Services, reports containers waiting at bay for Christmas season imports rose 223.3%, from 3,356 in 2011 to 10,853 through mid November this year. The number of refrigerated containers stalled at ports rose from 101 last year to 468 this November 16th, and empty containers rose from 3,500 to 8,731. The Government itself admits that 80% of all products are imported. Some economists estimate that this year's imports - largely Government funded - will close the year at U$D 50-54 billion. Exports, on the other hand, have dropped from 365 containers in 2011 to a mere 45 this year. To make matters worse, current work on port remodeling, now scheduled for completion by December 2014, has reduced port capacity by 30%, and the SIDUNEA automatic customs system, designed to process a container through the port in 2 hours, now takes an approximate 30 days to process. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño, 11-26-2012;,3-ha-aumentado-cantidad-de-contendores-en-baha)

"Only 4 out of 20 docks are operating", says Rusval Gutierrez, President of the Shipping Agents Association, and adds that the emergency is due to failures by the Port Authority and by the "inability to operate and deliver incoming freight to both customs and importers" More in Spanish: (Tal Cual, 11-27-2012;


Chavez public profile dropping drastically since August
According to a special July-November study obtained by El Universal daily, President Chavez has drastically lowered his public profile after his reelection on October 7th. From a high of 3730 minutes of public appearances and speeches in August; his public showings since his reelection are down to 495 minutes in November, all of them in purely official ceremonies: No campaign activity, telephone calls, press conferences or interviews: And the President has sent only 4 Tweets in November, all of them calls for unity during the upcoming gubernatorial elections - down from 56 Tweets in July. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-27-2012;

No human rights in Venezuela
Each day, 53 Venezuelans, 11 of them within the Caracas Metropolitan, will not be lucky enough to get back home or will be killed in their own homes. Daily reports of accidents and crime show the variety of scenarios in which Venezuelans are killed. The stories seem to be accepted as some kind of unknown unstoppable force that overrides people's choices. At a distance, the phenomenon is accepted as some kind of misfortune which Venezuela cannot escape from. Last year stood out as the most violent year of all times, the criminal death toll rose to 19,336. (El Universal, 11-24-2012;

Government agents raid opposition printing plant in Venezuela ahead of election
Government intelligence agents have raided a business printing opposition political pamphlets ahead of next month’s state elections in Venezuela. Zulia state Gov. Pablo Perez says the raid by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service in the western city of Maracaibo is an attempt to intimidate opponents of President Hugo Chavez’s government. He told reporters that such actions are “abuses of power.” (The Washington Post, 11-24-2012;; Fox News,

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23th, 2012

Economics & Finance

Venezuela posts 5.2% economic growth in 3rd quarter; important areas drop
Venezuela’s economy grew 5.2% in the third quarter over the same period last year, officials say, crediting both the private sector and an increase in government spending. “Venezuela has entered a new phase in its stable, sustainable growth,” Planning Minister Jorge Giordani said at a news conference during which he and the Central Bank president announced the quarterly financial results. Despite GDP growth, Central Bank data shows important industries dropped severely: metal products (-13,8%), electric machinery (-10,9%), and vehicles (-8,7%). A very important area, such as the manufacture of basic metals within the public sector dropped 35,3% due to labor and operational problems in Guayana region's basic industries. (The Washington Post, 11-20-2012;; El Universal, 11-21-2012;; Fox News,; and more in Spanish: Tal Cual, 11-23-2012;

Central Bank disposable reserves down 60% over six months
Reserves available for imports and debt repayment continue to drop.  Official figures at the close of the third quarter are U$D 2.242 billion, which is a 60% drop since January; and a 93% drop in four years. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-23-2012;

As devaluation rumors multiply and replacement costs go up, the rise of the black market dollar could become an obstacle in the government’s plans to put a stop to inflation and supply market shelves for the Christmas Season. Although there are no official figures for the parallel market, ECONOMÉTRICA estimates almost 20% of imports take place through this type of operations. (Veneconomy, 11-22-2012;

Analysis: Black market surge presages Venezuela devaluation
Called by a host of nicknames to evade Venezuela's strict currency controls, U.S. dollars are in such hot demand that the black market price has soared to nearly four times the local bolivar money's official fixed rate. Added to existing fiscal pressures for President Hugo Chavez's socialist government, the new illegal exchange rate for dollars is making a devaluation look inevitable, probably around year end or in early 2013, economists and businessmen say. (Reuters, 11-21-2012;

Dual exchange system reported to be under study
As SITME continues allocating foreign currency at minimum levels and banks have not received Forex for several days, economic authorities continue to debate exchange strategy for 2013. Sources claim the Planning and Finance Ministry wants to keep the official rate at 4.30 VEB to the U$D, for priorities, and establish a new rate estimated at 50% above current levels. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 11-23-2012;; El Mundo,

Foreign debt rises above USD 100 billion ceiling
Over the past 12 months, the central government's spending, after inflation, has climbed by 26%. High oil prices and increased tax collection have failed to meet growing spending. Therefore, the government has been forced to issue new debt bonds. Central Bank data indicates that, for the first time ever, by the end of the third quarter Venezuela's foreign debt broke the U$D 100 billion ceiling and currently stands at U$D 102.3 billion, an 103% jump in four years and U$D 5.5 billion in July-September alone. (El Universal, 11-22-2012;

Number of private employers shrank by 19% in the past year
The number of employers has gradually shrunk, as fewer and fewer numbers are recorded by the National Statistics Institute (INE). The government agency disclosed that in the past 12 months, the number of employers plunged by 19%. In October 2012 there were 377,865, compared to 466,309 one year ago, that is, 88,444 fewer employers. (El Universal, 11-22-2012;

Venezuela registers one of the worst business environments in the region
An Economic Climate Index for Latin America prepared by Brazil's Getulio Vargas Foundation shows the regional index rose from 4.8 to 5.2 points in October this year. The index is taken every three months and is the result of an evaluation by 140 specialists from 18 nations. The countries that have the highest points are Brazil
(6.1), Bolivia (6), Chile (5.9), Perú (5.8), Paraguay (5.5) and Uruguay (5.3). Argentina and Mexico came out with 4.9, and Venezuela received 3.4 points. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-23-2012;

International Trade

Private and public sectors imports over U$D 40 billion
The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) says that economic growth reported in 2012 is due, among other reasons, to a higher supply of imported products and raw materials. In fact, the bank's numbers show that imports increased by 22%. By the end of the third quarter, private and public sectors' imports totaled U$D 40.7 billion, whereas last year they stood at U$D 33.2 billion. (El Universal, 11-21-2012;

Logistics & Transport

Gov't takes action to clear Venezuelan ports
The Ministry of Sea and Air Transport will take special steps though December 29 to clear the ports of La Guaira and Puerto Cabello, ranging from extended business hours in public banks to relaxation of the road transport of containers on Sundays, to the haulage of empty containers to areas outside the port. Public banks have now extended their working hours in order to improve port operations. The special schedule is in effect at agencies in Catia La Mar and Maiquetía, in Vargas State; and at Puerto Cabello, in Carabobo State. The banks will operate weekdays from 8:30 AM to 6 PM; and Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, in order to expedite port service tariff payments and payments for storage, and surface and dock use. More in Spanish: (AVN, 11-23-2012;ública-establece-horario-especial-para-apoyar-labor-puertos-del-país and El Universal, 11-21-2012;

Increase in pilot's fees being considered at Puerto Cabello
The shipping community in Puerto Cabello reports port authorities is considering an increase in pilot's fees by the National Aquatic Areas Institute, up to VEB 2,200, which would have to be paid by all shipping companies in order to enter the Port of Puerto Cabello and dock at the main terminal. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño, 11-23-2012;


Assembly members urged to support Chavez gubernatorial nominees
Diosdado Cabello, President of the National Assembly has urged pro-Chavez assembly members to support gubernatorial candidates nominated by President Chavez. Cabello made his statement in a visit to Apure, which was the sixth visit by party leadership to states where there are multiple nominees and in-party strife in upcoming December 16th gubernatorial races. (El Universal, 11-23-2012;

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20th, 2012

Economics & Finance

Economic authorities said to disagree over exchange policy
Heated arguments are reported among representatives for PDVSA, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Planning and Finance, as the Ministry has - since September - refused to supply bonds to the SITME exchange system that operates within the Central Bank, and with PDVSA saying it requires a new bond issue to repay funds advanced by the Central Bank. According to an inside source, the Ministry, headed by Jorge Giordani, shut down the supply of bonds used to allocate currency to importers on a list controlled by Giordani himself, thus worsening dollar shortages in the local market. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 11-20-2012;

SITME operations estimated at minimum levels
A report by SINTESIS FINANCIERA shows that over the past three weeks SITME operations have gone down to "two year minimum levels, precisely as seasonal demand has been rising since August". SITME currency allocations had risen by 56% through September, thus compensating stagnant CADIVI allocations, but diminished FOREX availability has restricted SITME operations as well. Yesterday, the system processed a mere U$D 21.13 million. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-20-2012;

Central Bank disposable reserves down to U$D 1.6 billion
Central Bank financial statements show that disposable reserves have been dropping since August. Disposable reserves earmarked for imports and debt repayment fell to U$D 1.6 billion from U$D 1.8 billion in September, which is beneath the U$D 2-5 billion estimated as necessary by bank president Nelson Merentes. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-20-2012;

National Land Institute says it has "rescued" 1.11 million hectares in 21 months, claiming they were "in the hands of large landowners". This is a 206% increase in land takeovers over 2010. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-20-2012;

Growing imports underscore the failure of Venezuela's agriculture
One of the unfulfilled promises by President Chavez since he took office 14 years ago was to transform Venezuela into a large agricultural producer. The promise remains among the goals for the next six-year term. (El Universal, 11-19-2012;

Industry slumps to 1960's levels
The boom in oil prices conceals the critical state of local industry as imports have been the only way to meet growing demand. Central Bank data reveals signs of a weakened industry with industrial GDP for the first semester 2012 matching the same 14% it recorded in 1965. Economist José Guerra points out that this indicator shows that the national industry's production is similar to what it was five decades ago. (El Universal, 11-19-2012;

Management of state-owned companies riddled with inefficiency
President Chavez has pledged to implement tougher measures against inefficiency in the state-owned companies, as most projects started by his government have failed over the past years. (El Universal, 11-17-2012;

Stock market up 228%
Venezuela stocks rose sharply the week ending November 16, with the Caracas Stock Index increasing by 4.1%, closing at 383,419. Envases Venezolanos was the leading gainer, up 51% at Bs. 100; followed by Corimon up 22% at Bs. 380; Fondo de Valores Inmobiliarios B, up 16.7% to Bs. 14. Manpa was the only stock losing ground, down 14.2% to Bs. 4.5. All other stocks were flat or did not trade. The Venezuela Stock Market is now up 227.61% for the year to date. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 11-19-2012;


FERROMINERA denies raid
Sources within FERROMINERA, the main State iron ore company, reported that agents from the Military Intelligence Department (DIM), the Defense Ministry's security agency, are investigating the irregular dispatch of trucks laden with iron ore from the main operating headquarters of the main State owned iron ore enterprise , destined to ports from which the ore is shipped abroad. They say operation aims at an intricate system of contacts and corruption, yet the DIM investigation has so far aimed at establishing responsibilities by personnel within the contingency and road control department, and the loss prevention and control section of FERROMINERA's Asset Control Management. The company has issued no statement about the presumed breach in controls at the state owned company, at points were outgoing product is verifies and approved. A worker says "This has been going on for a long time", and added that DIM is investigating some 16 company officers. FERROMINERA President Radwan Sabbag has denied the reports. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-20-2012;; Correo del Caroní, 11-19-2012;

Shinsho plans U$D 300 million Venezuela steel investment
Japan’s Shinsho Corp. plans to invest more than U$D300 million in the Venezuelan steel industry in the Guayana region, El Mundo reported.  Shinsho is holding meetings today with officials from state-run companies including Siderurgica del Orinoco, or Sidor, the Caracas-based newspaper said. (Bloomberg, 11-19-2012; Shinsho Plans $300 Million Venezuela Steel Investment)

PDVSA increases imports of components for gasoline
According to figures from the United States Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) Administration Office, PDVSA imports Methyl tert-butyl ether (Mtbe) and other chemical products in order to increase gasoline octane rating and process gasoline due to the precarious situation of local refineries. (Veneconomy, 11-19-2012;

OPEC reports 1.8% drop in Venezuela's oil output
Data supplied by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows Venezuela's oil drilling in October slipped 1.8%. According to secondary sources, cartel figures show that Venezuela produced 2.33 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in October 2012, compared to 2.38 million bpd drilled in October 2011. In October this year, however, the Venezuelan monthly output grew 18,300 bpd, or 0.7%, compared to September 2012. (El Universal, 11-19-2012;

International Trade

Venezuela-Colombia trade agreement now in force
Customs headquarters at San Antonio del Táchira, on the Venezuela-Colombia border, told the Bi-national Economic Integration Chamber (CAVECOL) that the partial agreement between both nations - signed one year ago by Presidents Chavez and Santos - entered into force yesterday as trade authorities have adapted customs technology to the new requirements and have notified ALADI (Latin American Integration Association) of the terms agreed to. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-20-2012;

Logistics & Transport

Bolivariana de Puertos announced they would begin a special plan to dispatch cargo in all ports nationwide, beginning last Saturday and all through December. Bolipuertos also set up a new application in its web page ( so customs and shipping agents, and importers and exporters can run liquidation of storing services online instead of having to go to the administrative offices at ports. (Veneconomy, 11-19-2012;


Opponent of Hugo Chavez pushing for release of imprisoned government adversaries
Venezuela’s opposition leaders are calling on President Hugo Chavez to grant amnesty to the country’s self-proclaimed political prisoners. Opposition congressman Edgar Zambrano said he was optimistic after presenting a proposed bill amnesty bill to the National Assembly on Thursday. “We perceive willingness within the government” to liberate some government opponents and allow others to return to Venezuela after years of exile, Zambrano said. (The Washington Post, 11-16-2012;

Inter American Human Rights court about to decide another case against Venezuela
The Inter American Human Rights Court is getting ready to issue a third sentence against Venezuela within this year, based on Government failure to identify and punish the killers of human rights activist Joe Castillo, which took place in Zulia state in 2003. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 11-20-2012;