Inbound cargo at Puerto Cabello
- Over 486 tons of dairy products have arrived from ports in Chile, México and Uruguay, including 4 vans bearing 112 tons of butter.
- NESTLÉ México sent its Venezuelan affiliate 8 containers carrying over 137,000 tons of baby formula.
Seven ships remain at bay, three of them carrying 60,000 tons of yellow corn, along with another three bearing over 69,000 tons of soy. Another vessel is carrying over 305,000 tons of tires. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño; http://www.el-carabobeno.com/impreso/articulo/97845/-leche-infantil,-completa,-en-crema-y-mantequilla-arrib-al-puerto; and Notitarde; http://www.notitarde.com/La-Costa/Siete-buques-con-alimentos-esperan-en-bahia-2134439/2014/03/31/318317)
50% increase in land cargo container freight rates in effect as of today
Starting today a new 50% rate increase will apply to land cargo container freight from Puerto Cabello. More in Spanish: (El Carabobeño; http://www.el-carabobeno.com/impreso/articulo/97842/-nuevas-tarifas-para-fletes-de-cargas-contenerizadas-a-partir-de-hoy)
Logistics & Transport
AVIANCA surges with COPA on Venezuela’s pledge to pay
Avianca and COPA stock has rallied on speculation Venezuela will let airlines exchange their bolivars for dollars at the official rate. COPA, Venezuela’s second-biggest carrier by capacity, rose 4.4% to U$D 141.67 today in New York for the biggest gain in six weeks. American depositary receipts of AVIANCA, Colombia’s largest airline, jumped 3% to U$D 17.24. President Nicolas Maduro authorized his government to pay U$D 3.8 billion owed to international airlines, revenue calculated using the official exchange rate at the time of the sale, and Venezuelan Airlines Association President Humberto Figuera told reporters in Caracas. While the official exchange rate is 6.3 bolivars per dollar, currency controls have left the bolivar trading at about ten times that in the black market. (Bloomberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-28/venezuela-will-pay-all-airline-debt-at-original-fx-rate.html)
Oil & Energy
Venezuela offers 2.3 million barrels on the open market
State-run PDVSA is offering at least 2.3 million barrels of crude, ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) and jet fuel on the open market for delivery in April from its 187,000 bpd Puerto la Cruz refinery and other terminals in east Venezuela, an internal document says. The company has ramped up tenders in recent weeks amid a bigger need for cash and decreasing domestic fuel demand because of protests against President Nicolas Maduro. The tenders for April come after tenders in March to sell 730,000 barrels of ULSD, jet fuel, natural gasoline and light virgin naphtha. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/28/oil-venezuela-exports-idUSL1N0MO20K20140328)
Venezuela oil price tips up
Venezuela's weekly oil basket stayed below the country's desired U$D 100 a barrel floor, but tipped up after three straight weeks of declines as world oil prices rose over concerns caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, strife in OPEC members Libya and Nigeria, and delays in Iran's return to the market.
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 March 28 was U$D 95.41, up $0.40 from the previous week's U$D 95.01. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=1868583&CategoryId=10717)
SIDOR steel production at 40% due to strikes
Rafael Tizamo, Labor Affairs manager at SIDOR says production there is around 40%, and the state owned conglomerate is undergoing a crisis in productivity due to constant work stoppages. "The union does not cooperate to increase productivity", he said. (El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/industrias/produccion-de-acero-de-sidor-es-de-40---a-causa-de.aspx#ixzz2xXGu0twq)
Economy & Finance
FEDECAMARAS President says companies are still awaiting FOREX from SICAD II transactions
FEDECÁMARAS President Jorge Roig says doubts persist on the new FOREX allocation system and some signs are not encouraging. The head of Venezuela's principal business organization says: "We know of no effective allocations" after one week of SICAD II operations. Roig added that according to reports from the business community, it is difficult to understand the allocation criteria used by authorities. "Those who bid above the average price do not receive allocations", he said. More in Spanish: (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140401/empresas-aun-esperan-por-el-pago-de-las-divisas-en-el-sicad-ii)
All people doing business in Venezuela must register with the government
Fair Price Superintendent Andreína Tarazón has announced the immediate creation of a Single Personal Register (RUPDAE) for all those who do business in Venezuela. The registry will include importers, distributors and trade and those who fail to comply within 180 days will be fined. Trade Minister Dante Regime says the registry will allow the regime to plan trade nationwide. He says "it is a planning instrument to know how much they produce and what they produce, in order to plan FOREX use and favor raw materials". More in Spanish: (Agencia Venezolana de Noticias; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/implementan-registro-%C3%BAnico-personas-dedicadas-actividad-econ%C3%B3mica; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/registro-%C3%BAnico-permitir%C3%A1-planificar-actividad-econ%C3%B3mica-pa%C3%ADs: Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/implementan-registro-unico-para-ordenar-actividad-.aspx; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/arranca-registro-obligatorio-de-actividades-econom.aspx)
Venezuela hikes bank reserve rate again in inflation fight
Venezuela's Central Bank has raised the reserve amount that banks must deposit with it by 1.0 percentage points to 21.5% amid government efforts to tame an annual inflation rate of more than 57%. The measure, which takes effect today, is the latest in a series of increases in the reserve ratio. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/31/venezuela-economy-rates-idUSL1N0MS0YS20140331; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140331/central-bank-of-venezuela-increases-legal-reserve)
Shortages remain untamed during the first quarter
Companies have recorded monthly production loses at 10% due to unjustified shutdowns. Food manufacturers expected authorities to pay the foreign currency debt, which has been pending for more than 250 days. Although companies submit their cost structure quarterly, the prices of some products remain frozen. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/140331/shortage-untamed-in-the-first-quarter-in-venezuela)
Venezuela: Political spiral of violence a threat to the rule of law
Venezuela risks one of the worst threats to the rule of law in decades if the different political forces do not commit to fully respecting human rights, according to a new Amnesty International report on the current crisis in the country. The report, Venezuela: Human Rights at risk amid protests, documents allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the massive public demonstrations since early February. “The country runs the risk of descending into a spiral of violence unless steps are taken to bring the conflicting parties around the table. This can only happen if both sides fully respect human rights and the rule of law. Unless this happens, the death toll will continue to rise with ordinary people bearing the brunt,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. So far 37 people have lost their lives and more than 550 have been injured including at least 120 through the use of firearms. According to figures released by the Office of the Attorney General on 27 March 2,157 have been detained during the protests. According to allegations received by Amnesty International, the country’s security forces have resorted to the excessive use of force, including the use of live fire, and even torture when dealing with protesters. The report also documents human rights abuses committed by pro-government groups, protesters and unidentified individuals. (Amnesty, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/venezuela-political-spiral-violence-threat-rule-law-2014-04-01)
The Supreme Court says Machado divestment is "appropriate", Machado calls decision an "aberration"
The Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela's Supreme Court has published a decision confirming that by speaking at the OAS as a member of the Panamanian delegation, legislator María Corina Machado gave up her rights as a legislator. Previously, the National Assembly President, Army Captain Diosdado Cabello, declared her inadmissible and his sentence as supported by the pro government majority in the Assembly, in a stark departure from Constitutional rules. Machado responded by calling the Court's decision an unconstitutional "aberration" that confirms there is no separation of powers in Venezuela, and will lead a march today to the Assembly, where Cabello says she will not be allowed to enter. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/tsj-declaro-procedente-destitucion-de-maria-corina.aspx#ixzz2xd6rf26v; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140401/tsj-avala-salida-de-machado-de-la-asamblea-nacional; http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/cabello-maria-corina-machado-no-va-a-entrar-en-la-.aspx#ixzz2xd77lwFR; and El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140401/diputada-desafia-a-cabello-y-afirma-que-estara-hoy-en-la-an; and Noticiero Digital, http://www.noticierodigital.com/2014/04/maria-corina-machado-decision-del-tsj-es-una-aberracion/?utm_source=NoticieroDigital.Com&utm_medium=twitter)
Vatican says it’s willing, able to help Venezuela
The Vatican says it is willing and able to help intervene diplomatically in Venezuela’s crisis after weeks of deadly unrest but says it must study expectations and options about what role it could play. President Nicolas Maduro has accepted the idea of a good-faith facilitator after coming under mounting pressure to reconcile with opponents who have been protesting for nearly three months. He mentioned Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, until last year the Vatican’s ambassador to Caracas. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has said the Holy See and Parolin were “certainly willing and desirous to do whatever is possible for the good and serenity of the country.” But he said the Vatican needed to understand if Vatican intervention would bring about a “desired outcome.” (Time, http://time.com/42235/vatican-says-its-willing-able-to-help-venezuela/)
Brazil grows wary of Venezuela under Maduro, reduces support
Brazil has toned down its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro because of disappointment over how he is handling mounting economic problems and opposition-led street protests. The shift, while subtle, has deprived Maduro of some of the regional backing he wants at a time of food shortages, high inflation and political uncertainty. Broadly speaking, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been increasingly disappointed by some of Maduro's actions and has reined in the more enthusiastic support that characterized Brazil-Venezuela relations under the late Hugo Chavez, according to two officials close to Rousseff's government. Worsening turmoil in Venezuela could endanger the sizeable interests of Brazilian companies in Venezuela. They include conglomerate ODEBRECHT SA. Brazilian newspaper VALOR ECONOMICO reported this month that Venezuelan public-sector companies already owe Brazilian companies as much as U$D 2.5 billion in debt. The shifting stance does not amount to increased support for the Venezuelan opposition, the officials emphasized. Henrique Capriles, the Venezuelan opposition's leading figure, has pointed to Brazil's ruling Workers Party as having the kind of policies he would embrace if elected. Both sides are eager to curry Brazil's favor and the signals sent by Rousseff's government are closely watched in Venezuela. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/28/us-brazil-venezuela-idUSBREA2R0ZP20140328)
Venezuela forces 'clear' protest city of San Cristobal
A top Venezuelan military commander says the security forces have retaken control of the streets in the western city of San Cristobal. Many of the city's roads had been blocked by barricades erected as part of anti-government protests. The head of the National Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command, Gen Vladimir Padrino, said the police and the National Guard had "ended the curfew imposed by terrorists". (BBC)
55% of Venezuelans think Maduro regime is no longer democratic
"They may term me a ‘dictator', but I do not care," said Nicolás Maduro on February 7, 2014 after announcing stringent laws against sensationalism. Today, given the crackdown on recent anti-government demonstrations, the public things the regime has lost the democratic quality the late President Hugo Chávez always boasted of.
Based on the last survey conducted by the IVAD polling firm, 55% of the population believes the government "is no longer democratic." (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140331/55-of-venezuelans-think-maduros-govt-is-no-longer-democratic)
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.