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, February 19, 2013

February 19, 2013

Economics & Finance

Public Stock Exchange considered as alternate FOREX supply
Unofficial economic sources report the government is considering the use of the Public Stock Exchange as a substitute for the now defunct FOREX Denominated Transaction System (SITME), and say the decision came after the new supreme FOREX authority analyzed the Exchange Authority´s (CADIVI) ability to manage increased demand. Although no decision has been made, an internal memo describes conditions for a new market. Nelson Merentes, Central Bank President has recently admitted that the exchange market is in an altered state and that authorities will not remain inactive in this situation. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 02-19-2013;  and El Mundo,

Income surplus for 2012 was VEB 57 billion in unused funding, deposited in parallel special funds operated by the National Treasury and now available to the government for further spending plans. The amount is the result of differences between authorized budget items and actual disbursements. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 02-19-2013;

PDVSA accounting benefits from devaluation
José Luis Saboin, senior analyst at ECOANALÍTICA, points out that "all recent economic decisions favor PDVSA"; and César Aristimuño, of Aristimuño Herrera & Associates adds: "one of the key beneficiaries from devaluation is PDVSA as it improves the government's income in local currency, and partly reduces its' local currency indebtedness". PDVSA's indebtedness with the Central Bank is now down 31.7% as a result of devaluation; and it's dollar indebtedness has been reduced from U$D 38.4 billion to U$D 26.2 billion. PDVSA's financial debt is lower by U$D 1.9 billion on Bolivar denominated loans financed by the Central Bank. As a result, PDVSA should provide the government an additional VEB 84.5 in taxes and royalties. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 02-19-2013;


PDVSA is a big lie, says Gustavo Coronel
According to senior oil analyst Gustavo Coronel: PDVSA claims to be sending to China an average of 34% more oil than the China say they are receiving. Sometimes, like in 2009, the differences have been as high as 72% less oil sent to China than PDVSA claims. This is a lie among the many lies coming out of PDVSA on a daily basis. They lie about their proven reserves, about their level of oil production, about the number of drilling rigs active in the country, about the production of natural gas, about the price they obtain for their oil, about the level of exports, about the refinery runs, about their imports of gasoline and diesel, about their contracts, about their many non-oil related activities such as house building, food imports or pig raising. The company under Rafael Ramirez is an immense lie. As such it has lost all international credibility. PDVSA bonds are no longer accepted by many brokers, due to the shaky financial situation of the company and the nation. (Las Armas del Coronel, 02-13-2013;

International Trade

Soto Rojas denies mining contract with CITIC violates sovereignty
Fernando Soto-Rojas, chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Energy and Petroleum, defended the contract between the Government and China's CITIC Group granting the latter Venezuela's gold, diamonds, coltan, tin, iron and bauxite deposits. "They have experience in that area. Nowadays, with technology, we can determine the presence of gold thousands of meters deep. Who knows what Guayana has 5000 meters underground? Here in Venezuela we only were able to evaluate 500 meters. " More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 02-18-2013;


Chavez makes surprise return from Cuba
President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba on Monday, more than two months after surgery for cancer that has jeopardized his 14-year rule. The middle-of-the-night homecoming by Chavez, 58, implies some medical improvement - at least enough to handle a flight of several hours - and will again fire up supporters with hope he could return to active rule. Yet there was no new information on the socialist leader's condition, nor images of his arrival, and aides say his condition remains "complex." Chavez could be returning to govern behind the scenes or could be hoping to ease political tensions in Venezuela and smooth a transition to Vice President Nicolas Maduro. (Reuters, 02-18-2013;; AVN,; Bloomberg,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; The Washington Post,; CNN,; Fox News,

Opposition leader Capriles welcomes Chávez back in Venezuela
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles welcomed President Hugo Chávez, and said he hoped that Chávez's return brings "common sense" to his government. (El Universal, 02-18-2013;

Students chained to Cuban embassy end protest
Emyly Vera, a spokesperson for the university students who demonstrated near the Cuban Embassy to Caracas for five days, announced the end of the protest after the Government reported the return of President Hugo Chávez.
"We asked for his return. We said that if he was able to rule, he had to do it in his own country and not abroad," she added. Vera pointed out that although the demonstration is over, "the battle is not." (El Universal, 02-18-2013;

US says elections should be called if Chavez cannot rule
Unidentified US government sources are saying "if he (Chavez) cannot carry out the duties of his office, the Constitution calls for the election of a new President". The source, who asked not to be identified, added "we note his return and repeat our best wishes on his illness". More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 02-19-2013;; El Universal,

Government party says swearing in will take place when he is "good and well"
The ruling party is not saying when or where Hugo Chavez will be sworn in as President for the 2013-19 terms. Anzoátegui Governor Aristóbulo Istúriz avoided recent questions on the matter, said the party has not discussed it, and simply said swearing in will take place whenever Chavez is "good and well". More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 02-19-2013;

Venezuela targets better relation with the US, but no rush
Foreign Minister Elías Jaua says Venezuela seeks "good relations" with the United States and ratified that President Hugo Chávez's Government has been taking steps to improve US-Venezuela bilateral relations. However, he stressed that Venezuela is by no means "desperate" to reach said goal. "We look forward to having good relations with the US, but we are by no means desperate to do so. We have learned and demonstrated that it is possible to live with dignity without having a US ambassador in Venezuela," the foreign minister stated. (El Universal, 02-19-2013;

Fidel Castro applauds President Chávez's return to Venezuela
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro applauded Chávez's come back after more than two months in hospital in Havana, saying: "I am very pleased that you have been able to get back to the piece of land of the Americas that you love so much, and to that fraternal people, who has given you so much support. A long and distressing wait, your amazing physical resilience and the total dedication of the medical team (...) were necessary to obtain such a goal". (El Universal, 02-18-2013;

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.

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