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, August 5, 2014

August 05, 2014

International Trade

Inbound cargo at Puerto Cabello:
  • 13,179 of frozen chicken and beef, in 395 containers, from Brazil for the CASA government agency.
  • 6,000 tons of rice from the Guyana Rice Development Board for CASA.
  • Over 3,000 tons of auto parts from Hong Kong to Corporación Automotriz ZGT.
  • Over 1,878 tons of margarine and powdered milk in 75 vans, from Brazil for CASA.
First exports in the third quarter
  • Over 294,000 tons of coaxial cable in 51 containers from Venezuelan Retornables del Centro, Transworld 2000 and Interamericana de Cables Venezuela for the United States Custo Polymers, CME Wire and Cable Ard JD and Associated Senesse.
  • Over 185 tons of waterproofing material in seven containers.
  • Over 100 tons of cured cattle skins from Inversiones Dismapri to its subsidiary in Taiwan.

Venezuela, Colombia to set new exchange rate to boost trade
Venezuela and Colombia have agreed to create a special exchange rate to boost plummeting bilateral trade between the two Andean countries, their presidents said. The exchange rate will be set at a later date and will enable each country to trade in its own currency and exchange any trade surplus into an international currency. "We have established a system, a mechanism for bilateral payments, to facilitate the financial aspect of trade," said Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos after a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in the Colombian coastal city Cartagena on Friday. (Reuters,

Venezuela signs 22 private agreements with China
The government of Venezuela has reached 22 private agreements with China involving projects in the industrial, agricultural, transport, telecommunications, technology, and oil sectors. Presidents Nicolás Maduro and Xi Jinping announced the signing of 38 agreements on July 21. Details were provided for 16 agreements only, as the remaining accords were signed in a private meeting. The agreements initialed behind closed doors involve further participation of Chinese enterprises in Venezuela's strategic sectors. (El Universal,

Oil & Energy

Gasoline price may rise to VEB 2.6 per liter, gasoline subsidies cost the government over US$ 12 billion a year
Former Central Bank Director and economist José Guerra reports that the price of gasoline here will rise to VEB 2.6 per liter and that the decision has been announced to gas station owners, at least in Caracas. Venezuela's government loses US$ 12.592 billion each year due to the difference in production cost and gasoline sales prices. VEB 38 million and VEB 86 million are lost daily by selling 91 and 95 octane gasoline, frozen at VEB 0.07 and VEB 0.097 per liter for the past 17 years, while it costs between VEB 2.4 and 2.7 to produce and sell it. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; Veneconomy,, and more in Spanish: AVN;; El Mundo,


NISSAN dealer shuts down operations
The Lino Fayen Nissan dealer has announced a "temporary shutdown," as it lacks cars to sell and supplies for post-sale services. "After 43 years, we are forced to close our doors for we have run out of stock and inputs" to repair cars, the company announced via Twitter. "We regret to inform our clients that it is impossible to continue operating due to lack of supplies (...) The policies adopted by the (Venezuelan) State have accomplished nothing but bringing the automobile industry to a standstill," the firm posted. It hoped "the State reconsiders its economic policies so operations can be resumed." (El Universal,

Economy & Finance

Venezuela's GDP reported to have contracted 4.5% in Q1 2014
Sources from within Venezuela's Central Bank are reporting that the economy contracted by an average 4.5% during the first quarter of 2014, adding that the petroleum sector remained stagnant while industry and construction dropped by more than two digits. The same source says that the figures should have been published last May but were not made public on direct orders from President Nicolás Maduro. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;

ECLAC projects a 0.5% drop in Venezuela's economy in 2014

World Economic Forum ranks Venezuela as lowest in competitiveness in Latin America
According to the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index, the highest in Latin America is Chile, which ranks 34th; and the lowest in the region in Venezuela, in the 134th position. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,
Perception of Venezuelans on the country’s situation worsens
According to the most recent study on public opinion conducted by Consultores 21, 67.8% of those polled believes the country’s current situation is negative; 69% thinks the day-to-day is worse than it was a year ago and 53% fears the situation will get worse in the next six months. (Veneconomy,; El Universal,

BARCLAYS: partial and late adjustment in Venezuela
In their latest report on Venezuela, dated July 30, analysts at BARCLAYS Capital say it seems the Maduro government will implement partial and late economic actions. They explain that the delay in applying such measures shows that the power of the "pragmatic" group of ministers led by Economic Affairs Vice President Rafael Ramírez is weak and its influence seems to have been overestimated. Steps to be taken include devaluation; reducing the list of products subject to regulation from 70%  to 25% of products in the basic food basket, used by the Central Bank to measure inflation, within the next six months; increasing interest rates; cutting down Central Bank financing of oil giant PDVSA; extending the foreign debt maturity date, and transferring foreign currency funds from the National Development Fund, the Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela (BANDES), and accounts of the Treasury to the Central Bank international reserves account. (El Universal,


US says visa sanctions include two Venezuelan cabinet members
John D. Feeley, US Assistant Undersecretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, says 24 Venezuelan officials have had their visa privileges cancelled by the United States, and the list includes "Cabinet members, presidential advisors, National Guard officers, secret police, and judges...we feel they have violated human rights of the Venezuelan people and should not be admitted into the United States". More in Spanish: (El Universal;

Maduro charges there are new conspiracies afoot against Venezuela
President Nicolás Maduro claims "ultra rightist groups" are still preparing "new ambushes and stabs" against Venezuela. Speaking at the 77th anniversary of the National Guard he said some people are conspiring against the nation through "unconventional means". More in Spanish: l Universal,

Wives of imprisoned leaders report they have been tortured
The wives and attorneys for Leopoldo López and San Cristóbal Mayor Daniel Ceballos have complained to the Prosecutor General that their husbands are being tortured while being held in prison pending trial. They say they remain locked in their cells for 23-24 hours, with visitors restricted to their lawyers and direct relatives in an attempt to "break" their spirit, as they remain detained for over four months on charges related to anti-government protests.  Their statement adds that "we denounce torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment".  More in Spanish: (Infolatam)

Widespread censorship reported at El Universal daily
When new and anonymous owners bought a controlling interest in Venezuela's oldest newspaper, El Universal, the newly named director Jesús Abreu, said all things would continue as usual. That has turned out to be untrue. A wave of censorship has led to the exit of around 26 columnists, and their celebrated caricaturist, Rayma, has been the most recent victim of an effort to silence or tone down criticism of the Maduro regime. Long time columnist Marta Colomina resigned the day before "in solidarity with so many colleagues that have been censored or fired". A recent statement by the newspaper says: "all newspapers in the world reserve the right to publish columns and articles in their pages", and says they reapplying their writing style rules and ethics code.  The El Universal takeover is the most recent such operation, following that of the Capriles Chain - one of Venezuela's largest media conglomerates - and the GLOBOVISION news channel, both of which were subjected to drastic censorship by their new owners, giving rise to charges that government allies are behind the takeovers. More in Spanish: (Infolatam; Entorno Inteligente,; El Universal:

28 labor leaders and workers reported murdered during the first semester 2014
The Venezuelan Observatory on Social Conflict (OVCS) is reporting there have been 28 murders of labor leaders and workers during the first semester this year. It says 86% of the killings were in the construction industry, and that the most frequent practice is the use of hit men. OVCS estimated that parallel unions and the sale of labor quotas were among the main causes of murders in the construction industry. More in Spanish: (Observatorio de Conflictos,

Brain drain estimated around 1.5 million
Miranda State legislator Clara Mirabal estimates around 1.5 million Venezuelans have left the country seeking better living conditions. She says that 380,000 Venezuelans were living abroad in 2000, the number rose to 530,000 five years later, and up to 1.2 million by 2010.  More in Spanish: (Noticiero Digital,

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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