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, April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014

International Trade

Recent imports at Puerto Cabello
  • 30,000 tons of corn from Brazil, for state company CASA
  • 195 tons of frozen beef from Brazil, also for CASA.
  • 338 tons in 19 vans of condensed milk and baby formula, from NESTLÉ Mexico to NESTLÉ Venezuela.
  • 765 tons in 26 containers of condensed milk from Uruguay to Alimentos NISA and Lácteos La Cabaña 
  • 60 tons of butter from ECOLAT Uruguay, for Flor de Aragua. 
  • 5,495 tons of cement, along with steel mesh and corrugated cardboard also arrived.

Commodities have been left behind in Panama
Since the government broke relations with Panama goods coming from that country were left there, including appliances, medicines, chemicals for agriculture and food were left behind while merchants here have been left with little to sell. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,

Logistics & Transport

Airlines will not be repaid at VEB 4.30 or at 6.30, contrary to what the Minister had announced 
Contrary to what General Hebert García Plaza, Minister for Aquatic and Air Transportation, said a few weeks ago, an inside source who asked to remain anonymous says the decision has been made to repay all government debts with airlines pending since 2012 at the SICAD 1 rate, which averages VEB 11/U$D. "Negotiations are stalled, no payment has been made since the announcement made by General García Plaza. Authorities are proposing different forms of payment to the airlines, and the companies are studying them. For the time being no airline has accepted full repayment at the SICAD 1 rate", it said. More in Spanish (El Nacional;

Oil & Energy

Venezuela's proven oil reserves up 0.2%
Venezuela's proven reserves went up 0.2% in 2012-2013, says the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. (El Universal,


Basic food scarcity index was up to 60.2% at the close of Q1 2014
According to measurements taken by DATANALISIS the scarcity index for regulated foodstuff averaged 51.9% during Q1 2014, and rose to 60.2% by the end of March. The survey includes supermarket chains, independents, grocery stores, informal trade and the government network including MERCA, PDVAL AND Abastos Bicentenario. Consumers could access an average of 9 out of 18 products in the basic food basket. The scarcity index rose 36% above 2012 and 14.7% above 2013. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Economy & Finance

High oil prices do not translate into high international reserves
Constraints on FOREX available at the official exchange rate for key sectors of the Venezuelan economy are due to fewer US dollars available at the Central Bank of Venezuela.  International reserves available for core imports and debt service is running below demand. Whereas oil prices have been above U$D 90 over the past years, commitments by state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) have limited the sale of foreign currency to the BCV. As a result, the flow for purchases of raw materials, finished products and equipment, as well as payment of services, has narrowed. (El Universal,

Fewer items will be imported at VEB6.30/U$D
The Cencoex is going over the current customs codes (goods and services) to determine which could go from the Bs.6.30:$ rate to the fluctuating SICAD 1 rate, set at Bs.10:$ in the most recent bid. The procedure with the Cencoex would be the same (the companies would not participate in the bidding) but when the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) liquidates the dollars, it would do at the SICAD 1 rate. (Veneconomy,

Anglo American sues Venezuela over U$D 600 million expropriation
Global mining company Anglo American PLC has become the latest corporation to file suit against Venezuela over its treatment of investors. Venezuela now has 28 cases pending against it – the most of any nation in the world. Argentina, which had previously held the number one spot, now has only 24 cases listed as pending. The World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has accepted a request for arbitration against Venezuela filed by Anglo American’s lawyers. The company says that Venezuela's actions regarding the Loma de Niquel mining concession - including the expropriation of Loma’s assets without prompt, adequate and effective compensation - breached the UK-Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty. According to the ICSID docket, Venezuela now has 28 cases pending against it – the most of any nation in the world -- after a rash of expropriations and nationalizations by Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez - who formally removed the country from ICSID jurisdiction in January of 2012, saying he would not accept any further rulings from the arbitration court. However, clauses in bilateral investment treaties and individual contracts continue to give ICSID jurisdiction to hear cases against Venezuela. Other companies with pending ICSID arbitrations against Venezuela include mining and smelting companies Gold Reserve Inc., RUSORO Mining Ltd., CRYSTALLEX International Corporation, and TENARIS SA; food industry companies GRUMA, POLAR, LONGREEF, VESTEY, and OWENS-ILLINOIS Inc.; and oil industry companies Tidewater Inc., Williams Cos. Inc., KOCH Industries Inc., CONOCOPHILLIPS, and EXXONMOBIL. (Reuters,; Bloomberg,; and Latin American Herald Tribune,

Opposition demands inflation data
Venezuela's opposition has accused the government of delaying publication of March inflation data for political reasons, saying the annual rate has reached an alarming 60%. The Central Bank is supposed to publish the closely watched consumer price index in the first 10 days of the month, but delays sometimes occur. Venezuela has the highest inflation in the Americas, with the opposition saying that is evidence of the failure of socialism and President Nicolas Maduro blaming his opponents for sabotage, hoarding and economic "war" against him. (Reuters,


Dialogue is continuing between the government and opposition, Brazilian FM back in Caracas
Talks are continuing between government representatives and members of the opposition Democratic Unity Conference, and Brazil's Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo is back in Caracas to act as "witness" on behalf of UNASUR. (El Universal,; Ultimas Noticias,;

Capriles: Change in Venezuela will not be driven by violence, calls on the government to truly dialogue
"Whether you like it or not, our Venezuela changed on April 14, but it changed for an inclusive proposal and a country where we all represent everyone," says opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski in summarizing opposition achievements in the presidential election of April 14, 2013. Capriles apparently lost by a margin of 1.49% (7.3 million votes, that is, 49.12%), but asked the National Elections Council to audit all ballot boxes, tally sheets, and poll books on grounds that the election had been subject to irregularities. The initially promised audit never took place. Capriles also said the government must prove that it wants to dialogue. He said "The country is skeptical of dialogue because a lot of water has gone under the bridge and since there are no concrete actions, they can be indifferent. But it is up to the government for that to change. How can it change and prove that it really wants a dialogue? If there are actions, there are signs." (El Universal,; and

Machado asks European Parliament to send a mission to Venezuela
Ousted National Assembly legislator María Corina Machado spoke to the Foreign Affairs Commission of the European Parliament on the situation in Venezuela, and requested the group send a mission to Venezuela, "to get a first hand view of repression carried out by the Maduro regime". Her request was supported by Spain's Socialist legislator Luis Yañez, who proposed the mission travel next June. More in Spanish: (El Universal,

Venezuela's military admits excesses during deadly protests
The military here has admitted it committed "some excesses" during weeks of political unrest that have left more than 40 people dead. The military's strategic command chief, General Vladimir Padrino, said they were investigating 97 officers and police staff for "cruelty and torture". But the general stressed these were less than 1% of all officers. Security forces have been accused of human rights abuse during the almost daily anti-government protests. The opposition and human rights activists accuse the security forces of repression and using heavy-handed tactics. "No soldiers have received orders to hurt anyone, harass or end the life of a Venezuelan," says General Padrino. (BBC)

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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