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, August 30, 2013

August 30, 2013

Economics & Finance

Lowered FOREX availability and increased liquidity swell parallel market rate
The jump in the black market exchange rate - a law forbids divulging the rate - is impacting prices on most products because traders use it to calculate their replacement cost. On March 26th, President Nicolas Maduro announced his regime was ready to "completely twist the arm of the parallel dollar", but the strategy applied has not met the challenge. SICAD, was created to replace SITME and carry out FOREX auctions, but amounts offered have been too small to impact the enormous demand in a parallel FOREX market. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-30-2013;

Rise in oil prices to reduce Venezuela's US dollar deficit
Tension in the Middle East and a looming air attack on Syria by the United States and allies has brought the Brent crude oil price up to a six-month high with a significant impact on the Venezuelan oil basket, which usually trades around 5% below Brent's. If the Venezuela oil basket price stands at U$D 110 per barrel, as recorded on Tuesday, there would be a 10% increase over the first half of the year. In other words, Venezuela would receive an additional U$D 126 million weekly. (El Universal, 08-29-2013;

Táchira Governor denies restriction in sales of basic commodities in western Venezuela
José Vielma Mora, governor of the state of Táchira in western Venezuela, denies having implemented "any sort of food rationing in the state. Nobody is authorized to sell food and request identification cards." Vielma Mora urged citizens to report to the Institute for the Defense of Persons in the Access to Goods and Services (INDEPABIS) "any stores requesting identification cards to sell basic commodities o minimizing sales," Globovisión reported. (El Universal, 08-29-2013;

There has been no improvement in supply during the first semester", says CONSECOMERCIO President Mauricio Tancredi. He also says he does not foresee a clear outlook in the short term and questioned the Central Bank’s (BCV) GDP figures. “When one has an economy with shortages. When you don’t have employment growth, but a radical labor law and scant access to foreign currency, we do not see how there can be a 4.2 growth in the commerce sector,” he said. (Veneconomy, 08-27-2013;

August scarcity level projected to be highest to date
As more items enter the scarcity list, EL MUNDO daily visited seven stores and found no pasta or rice at any of them. Scarcities are becoming more severe in items such as powdered milk, pasteurized milk, vegetable oils, sugar, corn flour and margarine. Lack of supply continues in personal care products such as toilet paper, sanitary napkins, etc. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; El Nacional;


ENI, Venezuela form JV to develop Perla field
Italy's ENI has agreed with Venezuela to create a new joint venture with state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to develop the Perla super-giant gas field. The Perla field is one of the largest gas fields discovered in recent years. PDVSA and ENI will establish a joint venture, with ENI holding a 40%, to exploit Perla's condensate reserves, which are estimated at 170 million barrels. Tests concluded in 2010 by ENI, PDVSA, and Spain's REPSOL confirmed that the Perla 3x reservoir is up to 15 trillion cubic feet gas in place, making it the largest in the country. (RIGZONE,; (AVN, 08-29-2013;; El Universal,; Latin American Herald Tribune,

PDVSA and India's Reliance agree to increase production
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Reliance, India's largest oil company, agreed to expand their trade relations by shipping up to 400,000 barrels of oil to the Asian country. The announcement was made by PDVSA's president Rafael Ramirez, during a press conference attended by the board of both companies. "Of that possibility, of that volume, we've been currently shipping 320,000 barrels per day to India, which makes our country a very important supplier with 12% of total consumption in India," he said. (AVN, 08-29-2013;

Fines have been eliminated for residential electric service bills by a resolution repealing each and every part of a prior resolution which established extra charges on higher electric consumption. (August 26 Gaceta Oficial). (Veneconomy, 08-28-2013;; El Universal, 08-29-2013;

International Trade

Venezuelan chemical companies owe suppliers U$D 400 million
The Venezuelan chemical sector "is going through a very difficult situation," says Juan Pablo Olalquiaga, President of the Venezuelan Chemical Industry Association (ASOQUIM). Olalquiaga says debts by local chemical enterprises to foreign suppliers abroad hamper raw material exports. In addition, "there are product lines seriously hit, whereas others will run out soon," he said. The president of ASOQUIM reported that the total debt accrued by the 155 companies registered in the association amounts to U$D 400 million.  "Since we have not paid suppliers, they will not ship us anything," he stressed. (El Universal, 08-29-2013;

Venezuela seeks 'fair price' for metals exports, traders see problems
Venezuela is hiking prices for its metals and minerals exports in an effort to obtain a "fair price" from buyers, but traders warned the move could leave the nation without buyers for its most important non-oil exports. President Nicolas Maduro said the system would boost revenue for metals including iron, steel and aluminum, while reducing costly commissions paid to intermediaries and traders. (Reuters, 08-27-2013;

Logistics & Transport

Colombian, Venezuela examine cross-border points
Colombia-Venezuelan authorities met in Colombia's Arauca Department to establish cross-border points and determine the state of access roads. The cross-border points established are in the Southern and Andean region of Venezuela: Arauquita (Colombia)- La Victoria (Apure state -Venezuela), Arauca (Colombia)- El Amparo (Apure -Venezuela), Puerto Carreño (Colombia) - Puerto Ayacucho, Paso El Burro (Venezuela), Casuarito (Colombia), and Puerto Ayacucho (Venezuela). The parties agreed to submit a report on the state of the road infrastructure, including geographical location, the state of roads, and a road maintenance schedule, by September 12th. (El Universal, 08-29-2013;


Maduro caught between economic moderates and radicals
Planning Minister Jorge Giordani and Finance Minister Nelson Merentes are involved in a tough struggle within the regime headed by Nicolás Maduro, who seems inclined to favor the pragmatic group (Merentes), as opposed to the orthodox left wing faction (Giordani). Opposition legislator Julio Borges says: "In economic affairs there are players with different approaches, such as Merentes and Giordani, sabotaging each other." Maduro maintains a radical discourse towards the US and the opposition led by Henrique Capriles, but through Merentes has begun a pragmatic turnaround on economic affairs.. Merentes has increased his power within the government and remains as Vice President for Economic Affairs. He has become the man Maduro listens to the most, got rid of Giordani ally Edmée Betancourt as President of the Central Bank and had her replaced with his own man, Eudomar Tovar. Merentes now controls the Finance Ministry, Central Bank and CADIVI (Currency Board), and has begun talks with the private sector, increased FOREX availability, begun reviewing prices on controlled products, and started to put public finances in order. His largest problem is that this approach has not yet shown results: Venezuela will barely reach half of the growth forecast for 2013, 3% instead of 6%. Giordani, often called "The Monk", was Chavez's economic mentor and ran Venezuela's economy for 12 years through archaic Marxist policies, including exchange and price controls. He maintains a strong influence in the National Assembly, where a majority of pro-Chavez legislators favor a more radical approach involving more controls and higher taxes. His remaining key supporters are Industry Minister Ricardo Menendez, Labor Minister María Cristina Iglesias, Housing Minister Ricardo Molina, as well as high level officials such as Eduardo Saman, who runs the Consumer Protection Agency (INDEPABIS). Rumors abound that Giordani will be removed as Planning Minister and appointed to an embassy abroad. Should this happen, Maduro will definitely lean toward the moderate and pragmatic group. More in Spanish: (INFOLATAM)

Guyana grants an oil concession in Venezuela's border maritime area
Guyana, without awaiting delimitation of maritime and submarine boundaries with Venezuela, has granted a new concession which impinges not only on the disputed area but also on Delta Amacuro State. The so-called Roraima bloc was granted in June 2012 to the ANDARKO multinational oil company, but its location had been kept secret. However, in a presentation made by Guyana's Environment Ministry at an energy conference in San Diego, California - a copy of which was obtained by El Universal daily - the location is shown to be in the Atlantic maritime area of Delta Amacuro state, which is not under discussion and is currently patrolled by the Venezuelan Navy. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-30-2013;

Maduro writes Barack Obama recommending a peaceful solution in the case of Syria
 He calls for a "twitter" campaign to Obama asking for no military intervention. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-30-2013;

16880 candidates to run in December municipal elections
The National Elections Council (CNE) says there will be 16880 candidates in the upcoming December 8th municipal elections.  The number includes 1,978 candidates for mayor, the remainder for city council members and other municipal offices. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-30-2013;

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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013

Economics & Finance

Central Bank wants to improve legislation to remove "mystery" from FOREX trading
Armando León, a member of the Central Bank's Board of Directors, says the current legal framework is overly complicated and that changes are in order to: "Make it as easy as possible for small and medium enterprises as well as public corporations to operate as transparently as possible". He said the Law on Illegal Exchange Operations "must be reviewed for everything to function. As legislation is improved, the price of dollars will stop being a mystery". More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; AVN;; Ultimas Noticias,;)

Government run agribusiness contributes little to the domestic market
The Venezuelan government has built its own agribusiness system as an "alternative" to the private sector in producing and distributing food. However, there is scant information on the functioning of 119 plants that are now under government control. This infrastructure, amassed through nationalizations and expropriations, has made the government responsible for producing 42% corn flour, 48% sugar, 33% rice, 78% coffee, 50% milk, plus farms and food processing centers. Yet agribusiness plants controlled by the Agriculture and Land Ministry and the Nutrition Ministry do not make their projected production due to financial difficulty, lack of supplies, and labor problems. The government runs 11 out of 17 sugar mills that only process 20% of all sugar. Six private mills produce 80%. After expropriating the CARGILL rice processing plant, the facility has failed to produce white rice and remains producing parboiled rice, which does not contribute much to the domestic market. And so forth. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-26-2013;

Caracas is among the 10 most expensive cities in the world
A yearly study by the Economist Intelligence Unit identifies the most expensive cities and those with the best quality of life (EIU), based on 11 indicators that measure the cost of key products and services (transportation, housing, food, appliances, among others). This year the 10 most expensive cities in the world are Zurich, Tokyo, Sidney, Osaka, Oslo, Melbourne, Singapore, Paris, Caracas and Geneva, in that order. It is to be noted that all the cities listed, except Caracas, are prosperous and thriving. When addressing the case of Caracas, the report says: "both luxury items and basic products have doubled their prices in just a few months. The first step taken by the government has been to devalue the Bolivar, amid high inflation." More in Spanish: (El Mundo;


Ramirez charges sabotage in Amuay explosion, opposition points at PDVSA Management
Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramírez says the government has proof that the explosion at the Paraguaná Refinement Center in Falcón State on 25 August 2012 with a death toll of more than 40 was caused by opposition sabotage. His remarks were countered by Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, Executive Secretary of the United Democratic Conference (MUD), who says responsibility for fires at refineries, as well as delays in recovering the Center's productivity are due to "rampant disorder, corruption and improvisation". He pointed to "the lack of industrial security, with no minimum procedures, severe maintenance problems, necessary work that is delayed or not carried out". Aveledo added: "if he (Ramírez) wants to find out about infiltrators he should ask Asdrúbal Chávez, his Vice Minister for Refining and Petrochemicals, who is also Vice President for Refining, Trade and Supplies at PDVSA. In addition to these two posts, he is President of eight companies owned by PDVSA: PDVSA Marine, COMERCHAMPS, PDVSA Naval, INTERVEN Venezuela, COMMERCIT, PDVSA Trading, TRADE CAL and Isla Refinery; and is on the Board of three other companies: PDV Holding, PDV America and CITGO Petroleum". Asdrúbal Chávez is a cousin of the late President Hugo Chávez. More in Spanish:  (AVN;; and El Universal:

PDVSA sets up security areas with foreign aid
Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has joined efforts with foreign companies engaged in security in the workplace to redefine security areas in oil operational facilities, reported Minister of Petroleum and Mining and PDVSA President Rafael Ramírez. Ramírez said PDVSA has counted on the advice of foreign security companies. "A thorough review of necessary clearances and locations was agreed for the safety of the residents around Pdvsa operating centers." (El Universal, 08-26-2013;;

Venezuela oil slips to U$D 105.09
Venezuela's weekly oil basket slipped 21 cents to U$D 105.09 as summer driving season and tensions in the Middle East competed against turbulent world stock and bond markets around the world. According to figures released by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending August 23 slipped to U$D 105.09 from the previous week's U$D 105.30. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 08-24-2013;

KEYSTONE’s impact on Venezuela muted by waning imports 
It’s an article of faith among supporters of the proposed KEYSTONE XL pipeline: approving the project would allow the U.S. to use more crude from Canada and less from Venezuela and other unfriendly regimes. The reality, according to analysts and others who watch global energy trends, is more complex. U.S. imports of crude from Venezuela have been falling for decades, though TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed pipeline may hasten the trend. The U.S. last year imported an average of 906,000 barrels of crude per day from Venezuela, a 35% decline from a four-decade high in 1997, according to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Energy Department’s statistical arm. At the same time, production from Venezuela has fallen. The Keystone pipeline could ship as much as 830,000 barrels a day from Canada and the Midwest, according to TransCanada. The Calgary-based company estimates that the project would reduce U.S. dependence on oil from Middle East producers and Venezuela. (Bloomberg, 08-26-2013;

International Trade

Venezuelan exports to Colombia drop 66% in January-June
Venezuela-Colombia trade fails to get back on track and achieve levels reported in the past despite moves from the authorities of both countries. In the first half of 2013, bilateral trade shrank according to Colombia's National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE). In January-June this year, Venezuelan exports to Colombia plummeted 66.2%, from USD 533 million in the first half of 2012 to USD 201 million in 2013. Venezuela is far from achieving levels of 2006, when exports to Colombia hit USD 1.4 billion. The most significant drop this year has been reported in fuel, chemicals, iron, and aluminum. Based on DANE, Colombian sales to Venezuela totaled USD 1.17 billion in the first half of the year, 4.3% down as against January-June 2012, when exports accounted for USD 1.22 billion. (El Universal, 08-26-2013;

Non oil exports down 20.6%
Authorities here insist that Venezuela will become an exporting giant. However, official records say the opposite. According to the figures from the Central Bank of Venezuela, non oil exports accounted for just U$D 810 million in the second quarter, 20.6% down with respect to a year earlier. (El Universal, 08-26-2013;

Venezuela and Palestine reach energy agreement
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has announced a formal energy agreement between Venezuela and the Palestinian Government designed to sell oil at a "just and non speculative price". He added: "They will have favorable conditions on price and payment, as we have done with other nations in the Caribbean". More in Spanish: (El Mundo, 08-27-2013;

Demand for 95 octane gasoline leads Government to import ingredients
PDVSA President and Mining and Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez say consumer behavior in buying gasoline is the reason why the Government must import more supplies from the US in order to process unleaded fuel. Ramirez says: "It is not just that the domestic market is growing, but also that people who could use 91 octane gasoline are using 95 octane gasoline even it is not necessary to do so, because the price is indifferent. As consumption of 95 octane gasoline increases, more supplies must be imported". More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, 08-27-2013;; El Mundo,

Logistics & Transport

Daily bulk cargo volume at Puerto Cabello is 27,000 tons
According to General José Gregorio Rojas, General Manager of BOLIPUERTOS at Puerto Cabello, daily bulk cargo operations there are some 27,000 tons daily. He said they now have enough equipment and machinery to make sure port operations are carried out expeditiously and efficiently; and added they have seven balances functioning to weigh lorries, and are updating BOLIPUERTOS information technology to improve processes and diminish waiting times at the port. Rojas said that 95% of bulks offloading operators are private, and called on them to collaborate in complying with established procedures. More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos;


Maduro claims Uribe plots to kill him, insinuates Obama complicity
Interior Minister General Miguel Rodríguez Torres has denounced an alleged plot to kill President Nicolás Maduro which he said was concocted in Miami and Bogotá with the complicity of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. He said two Colombian nationals captured carrying a photograph of President Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, are part of a group of 10 hired assassins.  Maduro himself challenged US President Barack Obama to say if he ordered or knew of an alleged plot hatched by 86-year old Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles in Miami. He said: "Is President Obama so weak that decisions to kill a Latin American head of state are taken in the US without his knowledge, or is he so weak that he does know there are parties in office in the US that have decided to kill me and he cannot stop it, or is it that he decided to have me killed". Maduro thanked the Colombian Government for its cooperation in the investigation and intelligence labor that led to arrest two mercenaries involved in a plan to murder him. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-27-2013;;; El Espectador:; AVN, 08-26-2013;; El Universal,

Cabello says the National Assembly will deprive more legislators of their immunity
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello says that when the legislature renews activities next month they will consider removing legislative immunity from Juan Carlos Caldera and other members of the parliament which he did not identify. During a press conference, Cabello said these legislators are being investigated for corruption. All of those investigated are members of the opposition. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-27-2013;

Russia and Venezuela strengthen cooperation with visit by Russian fleet
As an official visit by the Russian Naval Federation began arriving at La Guaira Port, Naval Operations Commander Jesús Ortega Hernández announced the visit will strengthen cooperation between both nations. More in Spanish: (AVN, 08-27-2013;; El Universal,

Attorney General charges former CVG FERROMINERA President
The Attorney General's office has brought formal charges against 52-year old former CVG FERROMINERA ORINOCO President Radwan Sabbagh, who was arrested on June 12 for alleged complicity in diverting a VEB 295 million budget item. He is now accused of fraudulent and aggravated embezzlement, evading bidding procedures, and plotting to commit a crime. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-27-2013;

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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23, 2013

Economics & Finance
Government says Venezuela's economy rebounds from slow first quarter, food production up
Venezuela's economy rebounded in the second quarter from tepid growth in the previous three months, the Central Bank said on Thursday, but growth was still far below 2012 due to slower government spending. Government officials said growth of 2.6% compared with the same period last year was evidence that the country's economy was on solid ground after lackluster growth of 0.5%. Bright spots included 24.3% growth in the financial sector, 5.7% in manufacturing, and 6.7% growth in communications. But the construction sector shrank by 6% percent, while activity in the mining sector contracted a whopping 22%. Maduro's government targeted 6% growth in GDP this year and a 15% increase inflation, but Merentes said those figures will be updated in the coming weeks. Though figures showed a notable expansion in the manufacture of food, consumers complain regularly they cannot find products, including wheat flour and corn flour, and the central bank's scarcity index remains near historic highs. Data presented shows food production rose 9.2% April to June, in areas such as 9% in wheat milling and 23% in overall bakery products; edible oils, 24%; non alcoholic beverages, 33.6%; and 1.9% in dairy products. The announcements were made at a joint press conference by Central Bank President Eudomar Tovar, Finance Minister Nelson Merentes and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani. Merentes remarked that GDP could hit 3% this year if the growth trend continues, particularly in construction. (REUTERS;; and more in Spanish: El Universal;; El Mundo,; Agencia Venezolana de Noticias;;)

The Bolívar may suffer new devaluation between December 2013 and February 2014, according to economist José Guerra. This new 42-50% devaluation would take the rate to between Bs.9:$ and Bs.9.50:$. Guerra says Venezuela faces a serious problem of foreign currency flow and also a low level of reserves and this is worsened by the fact that oil is the only activity that generates foreign currency. (VENECONOMY, 08-21-2013;

New bond issue could depend on China negotiations
British investment firm BARCLAYS Capital keeps forecasting that the Venezuelan government is expected to issue additional bonds in foreign currency in the last quarter of 2013; however, the investment firm believes bond issuance depends on funding negotiations with China. BARCLAYS Capital says that given the current liquidity in the Venezuelan financial system and in order to avoiding exchange rate risk, part of the additional indebtedness may be issued in the domestic market. It also forecast that the government and state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) could issue bonds worth USD 6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, but added that recent negotiations between Venezuela and China over a new U$D 5 billion loan might lower the need for issuing debt in the international market. (El Universal, 08-21-2013;

Tangled FOREX system, rising non-official rate
BCV has announced a new SICAD (Complementary Exchange System) dollar auction for U$D330 million. FOREX supply could now take a couple of months to reach the market because the Central Bank will sell PDVSA bonds it currently holds in the international market and transfer the proceeds to the auction winners’ international suppliers once proof of delivery has been obtained. PDVSA made a private placement of these bond to BCV last year for a total of U$D 3 billion, of which U$D1.3 billion were sold through SITME. BCV could still have U$D1.7 billion of this bond in addition to other bonds that it could have bought in the secondary market and could sell through SICAD in coming auctions. When the government decided to close SITME last February, it held it was unsustainable to maintain a system that demanded recurrent bond issuances to operate. The operation of SICAD has been worse than SITME, which at least had a stable daily supply of U$D30-40 million. The irregularity in the supply of dollars does not help the government control the depreciation of the non-official FX rate, which jumped from U$D/VEB 32 to U$D/VEB 37 in the last two weeks. The change of the president of BCV and the poor results obtained by SICAD in containing the non-official exchange rate depreciation reportedly has begun a debate on the bank’s board about the frequency of the dollar auctions and even consideration of other alternatives to providing dollars to the private sector. (Special report from ECOANALITICA; and Reuters, 08-21-2013;; El Universal,; more in Spanish: Fox News Latino,

Yellow alert at the Paraguaná Refining Center
Jesús Luongo, general manager of Paraguaná Refining Center (CRP), reported that a yellow alert was triggered last week at the site composed of Amuay, Cardón and Bajo Grande refineries. "Plotting sabotage and making it look like an accident, an act of God, is very easy," the official said. (El Universal, 08-21-2013;;

Refining center authorities reject report on Amuay's accident
Representatives of the Paraguaná Refining Center (CRP), in Falcón state (northwest Venezuela), refused to receive a report prepared by a commission of National Assembly opposition legislators and oil experts, following the accident registered on Amuay refinery on August 24, 2012, which caused 48 deaths. Deputies William Dávila, María Corina Machado, Gregorio Graterol, Eliécer Sirit, Leomagno Flores, José Manuel González, Juan Pablo García, and Américo De Gracia met with the Public Affairs and Legal Affairs Officers of the CRP at the front desk. The managers said that they were not authorized to receive the paper. (El Universal, 08-21-2013;

International Trade
Government imports up 25%, private imports down 9,6%
According to Central Bank data Government imports continue growing while private sector is repressed. Total imports in 2Q 2013 rose by 3.3% to U$D 13.5 billion due to government purchasing abroad which increased by 25.1% in such items as chemicals and refined products for the oil industry, food, medicine, medical supplies, aircraft and electric industry products. At the same time, private sector imports dropped by 9.6%. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-23-2013;

China slowdown could hit Venezuela
Venezuela will likely be hit most among Latin America's energy markets by a slowdown in China’s economy, experts say. As concerns rise about an economic slowdown in China, how would Latin America's energy sector be affected? Here are some highlights:
  • R. Evan Ellis, associate professor at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies in Washington says it "depends on whether a 'China slowdown' simply means below 7 percent GDP growth or whether the Chinese banking system, burdened by an excess of marginal loans, is pushed into a crisis. Populist oil producers such as Venezuela, already slipping ever deeper into debt, could face a revenue crisis."
  • Sun Hongbo, associate professor at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing adds: "China's energy cooperation with Latin America will continue to maintain a stable and rising profile... Chinese oil companies expect to tap into the Mexican oil industry while they strengthen their commercial presence in different forms in Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and other countries."
  • William J. Norris, professor of Chinese foreign and security policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University says: "The downturn will be most acutely felt in nations for which Chinese trade demand represents the largest percentage of the nation's total energy exports. While Brazil and Argentina are much bigger economies that may be better able to weather the downturn, smaller nations that rely heavily on Chinese energy demand (in particular, Venezuela) are in for a rough ride."
  • Philip Andrews-Speed, principal fellow at the Energy Studies Institute of the National University of Singapore says: "In the unlikely event that China enters a sustained period of very low growth (below 4%), then the effect on overseas investments and on oil imports could be dramatic." (Inter-American Dialogue Latin America Advisor;

Panamanian business seeks U$D 1 billion payment from Venezuela
Panama´s Colon Free Trade Zone has presented the Venezuelan Government with a U$D 1.097 billion bill for commercial debts, and Panamanian businessmen continue to wait on repayment options offered by Venezuela. The information was provided by Marco Antonio Téllez, Vice President of the Colon Free Trade Zone Client Associations, who said Venezuela is still reviewing the paperwork provided. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño, 08-23-2013;; Ultimas Noticias,; El Universal,

Logistics & Transport
Germany complains over Venezuela's port delays
The German government has complained to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry that detention of over 170 containers at different ports here hurts the operations of German companies. Germany is aware that when local customs authorities suspended PANALPINA, which provided transport and logistical services, it stopped processing cargo at different ports, including containers from German companies. The German Embassy's "verbal note" complains that the situation has a negative impact on the operations German companies in Venezuela, under contract with the public and private sector. More in Spanish: (El Universal, 08-23-2013;

... transport operators also report port delays
Julio Abreu, President of the Bulk Workers Front at Puerto Cabello says an outage in internet system for weighing lorries at BOLIPUERTOS, along with stop and go operations by the Automatic Customs System (SIDUNEA) has been delaying operations. He pointed to over 9 hours delays in offloading, and said: "they told us the systems were fast and efficient, and we are suffering them because we have pending 8 vessels loaded with bulk cargo, plus a ship loaded with sugar, not to mention 500 dump trucks waiting to load sugar, on top of 2,000 vehicles that load bulk and normally operate at the local terminal." More in Spanish:  (El Carabobeño, 08-23-2013;

Maduro backs off debate, seeks added powers in any way, hints at Constitutional Assembly
President Nicolás Maduro says the single vote he needs to enact the Enabling powers act at the National Assembly are "the people in the streets". He said a debate on corruption he previously proposed to the opposition "was already held by the people in the streets, and the people know what they want". Maduro warned he would go to the National Assembly escorted by "legislator 99" (the people), and added that "if they (special powers) are refused, we will take other routes". In the same speech he referred to opposition proposals seeking a new constitutional assembly, saying "I like that battle. If they choose to battle in that field, we are encouraged. We even may suddenly all of us hurl ourselves into a constituent assembly. We will not stop being president or ministers, because the people gave us power and I am going to hold it for six full years. And you will decide if I continue for six more, afterwards....a constituent assembly is all-powerful." More in Spanish: El Universal, 08-22-2013;; El Nacional,

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.