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, March 22, 2013

March 22th, 2013

Economics & Finance

Business decries limited access to U$D
Despite the creation of an ancillary Foreign Currency Administration System (SICAD), many companies will not be able access U$D through this device, according to FEDECÁMARAS First Vice President Jorge Roig, who points out the in order to use SICAD companies must have been previously enrolled in the Register of FOREX Users (RUSAD), which excludes most commercial operations, mid size and small business, and individuals. The new system seems a minefield due to the large number of obstacles along the process -hurdles that may lead to higher inflation. Economist Ángel García Banchs says the new system will bring few benefits to importers and corruption will undermine controls, and adds: "There is no better business in Venezuela than to get dollars at VEB 6.30 and sell them above this price".(El Universal, 03-21-2013; and; and more in Spanish: Tal Cual;

Maduro threatens U$D ‘speculators’ with jail time
Acting President Nicolas Maduro says the government is investigating cases of foreign exchange corruption and threatened “speculators” with jail time. “We’re investigating, and we’re going to pursue them,” Maduro said on state television. “We hope to have those responsible for dollar speculation soon. We want to see them in prison.” A shortage of dollars here has deepened since February, when 32% devaluation went into effect and the separate central bank- administered currency market was shut down. While the government sells dollars for priority imports at 6.3 bolivars, those who can’t access the system pay as much as 24 bolivars per dollar on the black market, according to Dolar Today, a website that tracks the exchange rate on the Venezuelan border with Colombia. (Bloomberg, 03-21-2013;

Socialist economic model is said to be "exhausted"
The so-called 21st Century Socialism is an "experiment" with very bad results, says former Argentinean Economy Minister Ricardo López Murphy. "I have this feeling that it will be quite challenging to understand the reasons that, despite great favorable circumstances to Venezuela, led to a poor economic performance," López Murphy said. "Severe" foreign exchange restrictions despite high oil revenues; destruction of added value; erosion of net worth in key state-run industries; "collapse" in production, and rampant indebtedness are just some of the effects of the model promoted for several years by the late President Hugo Chávez, says López Murphy. (El Universal, 03-21-2013;


Four new oil tankers arrive
Four new oil tankers for PDVSA's fleet arrived in Venezuela's eastern state of Anzoátegui on Wednesday. The tankers were received by acting president Nicolas Maduro, who inspected the vessels, along with Oil and Mining minister Rafael Ramirez , Anzoátegui governor Aristóbulo Isturiz, Chief of Staff minister Carmen Melendez. "The idea is to manage 40% of our production, of our exports with our own fleet," said Ramirez during the inspection. (AVN, 03-21-2013;

Pernambuco Refinery forges ahead with or without PDVSA
PETROBRAS Chief Gracia Foster said the Brazilian State oil company will conclude the Abreu e Lima Refinery in Pernambuco “with or without the promised support of Venezuela because it is vital for its management and business plan.” She says she has requested a meeting with PDVSA Chief Rafael Ramírez. (Veneconomy, 03-20-2013;

RUSORO Mining files UD 3 billion claim against Venezuela
RUSORO Mining Ltd, backed by Russia's Agapov family, said on Thursday it had filed a statement of claim against the Venezuela state and is seeking U$D 3.03 billion in compensation over the nationalization of its gold assets in Venezuela. The claim was filed at the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, under the provisions of Canada-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty. (Reuters, 03-21-2013;

ALCASA and BAUXILUM fell short of 2012 production goals
State owned aluminum companies ALCASA and BAUXILUM fell short of their production goals for 2012. ALCASA processed 55,585 metric tons, which is 86% of their planned 64,653 MT. At the same time, BAUXILUM met only 49% of its plan that is 807,324 tons out of 1,650,000 tons planned. More in Spanish. (El Universal, 03-22-2012;

International Trade

Brazil's AMBEV says exit from Venezuela limited to plant closure
Cia de Bebidas das Americas SA, Latin America's largest brewer, plans to limit its exit from the Venezuelan market to closing a plant and will market its products here through a local partner. The company, known as AMBEV, plans to sell some of its brands through Cerveceria Regional, with which it announced a strategic alliance in 2010, according to an emailed statement on Thursday. AMBEV is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the world's biggest brewer. (Reuters, 03-21-2013;

Brazilian firms root for Chavez's man in Venezuela vote
If Brazil's business leaders could vote in Venezuela's election next month, they would cast their ballots for Hugo Chavez's political heir, acting president Nicolas Maduro. They never supported the anti-capitalist bluster of Chavez, who died of cancer last month, but they hope to hold on to lucrative contracts for food exports and construction projects that he signed with Brazil's former leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his successor, Dilma Rousseff. "In the near term, a Maduro win would be best," said Jose Augusto de Castro, head of Brazil's Foreign Trade Association. (Reuters, 03-21-2013;

Sino-Venezuelan company plans to export vehicles into MERCOSUR
ZGT Automotive Corporation in Aragua state, a joint venture by China's ZGT and the Venezuelan government, expects to increase production of CHERY X1 and TIGGO vehicles and export them to MERCOSUR. ZGT Operations Vice President Harold Maison says they have produced 13,980 vehicles in 18 months and plan to export their vehicles to Latin America. More in Spanish: (AVN;

Logistics & Transport

Three additional airlines to service Barcelona airport in Anzoátegui state
The terminal's coordinator, José García, has announced three additional airlines will service Barcelona airport in the Eastern state of Anzoátegui, starting within the upcoming months. The airlines are RUTACA, ESTELAR and LASER. Service to the terminal is currently provided by CONVIASA, ASERCA and AVIOR. More in Spanish: (AVN, 03-22-2013;


Venezuela plot claims are ‘outlandish allegations,’ U.S. says
The U.S. State Department said today claims by Venezuelan officials of U.S.-based plots to destabilize the country are “unsubstantiated and outlandish.” Venezuela’s government has stepped up its anti-U.S. rhetoric after former President Hugo Chavez’s death from cancer March 5 triggered snap elections scheduled for April 14. His handpicked successor, acting President Nicolas Maduro, said he has evidence that former U.S. officials are plotting to assassinate opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski as a way of inciting a coup. Foreign Minister Elias Jaua yesterday suspended talks with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson after U.S. officials were expelled from Venezuela. Maduro accused them of seeking to destabilize Venezuela by meeting with military officials. (Reuters, 03-21-2013;; El Universal, 03-21-2013;; The Washington Post,

US-Venezuela diplomatic communication suspended
Communication channels established to improve relations with the United States have been temporarily suspended after "attacks" by Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, on Venezuela's election system, says Foreign Affairs minister Elias Jaua. "I hope there will be a correction and US meddling ceases," added the Minister, recalling that the commissioner to keep the communication channel with Mrs. Jacobson was Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roy Chaderton Matos. (AVN, 03-20-2013;; El Universal,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; Fox News,

Pro government gangs attacked student march en route to Elections Council
Student demonstrations marching to the National Elections Council in order to present demands for transparency and equity in upcoming Presidential elections on April 14t, were blocked by pro government gangs who attacked the march with sticks and stones, and wounded 7 students. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, 03-22-2013;

Southern Command: Caracas may have to restate foreign policy if Maduro wins
The US Southern Command believes Nicolás Maduro can become the new Venezuelan president and that the Chavista line will continue at least in the near future. However, the Venezuelan government might reconsider the practice of "buying friends" with oil, according to John Kelly, Chief of the US Southern Command. "Expectations are that the Vice-President (Maduro) will win the election of April 14 and things will be business as usual, at least for the time being. Who knows within five years," the military chief answered a question as to his estimate of Venezuela's future after the demise of President Hugo Chávez during a hearing held on Wednesday in Washington, says DPA. (El Universal, 03-20-2013;

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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