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, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014

International Trade


Cargo arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • Over 200 tons of tractor parts sent by US General Motors Overseas for its subsidiary in Venezuela.

27 vessels wait to dock, 2 carrying over 35,000 tons of wheat, another 35,000 tons of sugar, and another 6,000 tons of rice. One other ship laden with 33,000 of white corn for CASA has remained at bay for over a month awaiting dock assignment. Four more ships are expected to arrive at port with similar cargo. More in Spanish: (Notitarde;


US exports to Venezuela down by 23% through September, at US$ 7.831 billion from US$ 10.165 billion for the same period last year, according to figures published by the US Department of Commerce. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,


Venezuelan Exporters’ Association (AVEX) reports non-oil exports are partly paralyzed. AVEX head Ramón Goyo says this started upon enforcement of a presidential decree through which the transfer of basic basket staples and products, medicines and other goods to be exported or extracted towards foreign soil was banned in August. (Veneconomy,; El Universal,


Capriles sees no progress through bias toward imports

Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski says "the nation faces an unprecedented economic crisis, which can only be met by incentives for local production". He adds "we have here a government which is an enemy of domestic producers and favors foreign producers...They pay them in full, and hamper our own people...they speak of economic warfare, but the only war here is this failed system which works against the people". More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,



Logistics & Transport


Port workers are met with tear gas and pellets at Puerto Cabello, operations mostly paralyzed

As BOLIPUERTOS port authority workers prepared to set up a human barrier seeking collective bargaining discussions, they were dispersed by the National Guard using tear gas and pellets. Several employees were wounded and detained, among them union leader Mónica Martínez. Operations were paralyzed, except for frozen food cargo. More in Spanish: (Notitarde;; El Universal,; El Nacional;


Shipping companies demand improvements in port operations

Venezuela's Shipping Association (ASONAVIERA) is calling for "urgent" joint action between port authorities and carriers to increase port productivity here. Statistics indicate that the main port of the country, Puerto Cabello, handles 12-14 containers per hour, whereas in neighboring Caribbean ports, such as Colombia's Cartagena, the indicator is up to 35. More in Spanish: (El Universal,



Oil & Energy


CITGO auction reported proceeding even after minister says it was canceled

At least three oil companies are still actively bidding for CITGO Petroleum Corp, the U.S. refining arm of Venezuela's PDVSA, even after the country's finance minister said that the auction was no longer going ahead, according to three people familiar with the situation. The investment bank hired by PDVSA to conduct the sale, Lazard Ltd, has not ended the sale process, the sources said, and a deadline for a second round of bids is expected later this month. Any deal for CITGO, which could be worth as much as US$ 10 billion, could help to reshape the U.S. refining landscape, giving the winning bidder access to major refining assets in the Midwest and on the Gulf Coast at a time when U.S. oil production is soaring. The CITGO refineries are in a position to access supplies of crude from U.S. Shale formations and imported Canadian crude. Finance Minister General Rodolfo Marco had said in on Oct. 26 that the sale of CITGO Petroleum “has been ruled out” and the nation’s President Nicolas Maduro had “affirmed” the decision...but visits to the Illinois refinery have been made as recently as this week, the sources familiar with the sale efforts said. (Reuters:; and; El Universal,


Atlantic Basin Refining to buy, restart HOVENSA St. Croix Refinery

A little-known entity, Atlantic Basin Refining, has agreed to buy the shuttered HOVENSA LLC oil refinery in St. Croix and restart it with a 300,000 barrels-a-day capacity to handle crude from the U.S. shale boom, according to a statement on Monday. The agreement between ABR and plant owners Hess Corp and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) is subject to a vote by the Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands, scheduled for Nov. 12. The details of the agreement and information on the project's financial backers remain well-guarded. (Reuters,


Mexico Energy Minister to meet Venezuela's Ramirez, Saudi's al-Naimi

Mexico's Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell will meet with Venezuela's visiting Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez on Friday and with Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi next week, officials said, against a backdrop of weaker global oil prices.

Former Venezuelan energy minister and head of state oil company PDVSA, Ramirez remains Venezuela's OPEC delegation head and has led calls for an emergency meeting due to global price declines. Ramirez met al-Naimi on Wednesday as part of a climate change conference on Venezuela's Margarita Island, but they offered no comment on oil markets afterward. (Reuters,


Venezuela’s export barrel averaged US$ 72.80/bbl. this week, down US$ 2.99/bbl., according to the Ministry of Oil and Mining. The average-to-date this year is US$ 93.26/bbl. (Veneconomy,


PDVSA President says company will maintain production during 2015

PDVSA President Eulogio del Pino has announced that the company will keep on pumping around 3 million barrels per day. "Our plan for 2015 is to maintain our production and develop our capacity to react in whatever global scenario." He said crude oil exports will be around 2.528 million BPD, and the domestic market will get some 766,000 BPD. More in Spanish: (Diario 2001,; El Mundo,,; Notitarde,; AVN;á-producción-3-millones-barriles-diarios-para-2015)


Venezuela says it will keep on boosting oil exports to China, India

Venezuela will continue to boost oil exports to China and India to capitalize on their booming economies, says Oil Minister Asdrúbal Chávez. "That's where we have to keep building our markets because those are the countries that have the biggest year-on-year growth," he told a parliamentary committee. "We're going to keep increasing our shipments to Asia: India and China," he added, without specifying figures. (Reuters,





Venezuela's shrinking industrial production

Data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) at the close of 1998 shows that back then 11,117 industrial facilities were in full production, providing jobs for 449,636 workers. By 2007 the number of private companies in industry had dropped to 7,093, employing 345,168 workers. The number of expropriated industries and businesses has increased since 2008, the last year INE published updated figures. The decline in industrial activity has continued to this day, while expropriated or nationalized businesses have such enormous costs and negligible revenue, if any, that they have to be subsidized by the government resulting in significant financial losses. (El Universal,


Car assembly in Venezuela ends at 15,000 units

According to data from the Venezuelan Automotive Chamber (CAVENEZ), between January and October, the seven car assembly plants operating here barely managed to assemble 12,010 cars, 81.6% lower than the amount of units assembled in the same period in 2013. Based on this data, the Venezuelan car industry forecasts car assembly would hit about 15,000 units by the end of the year. It would be the worst record in history, even lower than the 2003 performance, the year of the "oil strike," when the country's economy sharply contracted. CAVENEZ's report shows that each month of this year, at least one car assembly plant has been forced to come to a halt after running out of assembling material. (El Universal,


TOYOTA to maintain its operations here

Steve St. Angelo, Executive President of TOYOTA Latin America, says: "We will remain here, but it must be said we have difficulties and I have challenged our team to be more competitive in low volumes...I am not calling our plant in Venezuela a loss, and I am not giving up". The TOYOTA Cumaná plant in Eastern Venezuela will produce a little over 3,000 units this year, one third of its production in 2013. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,


Two pre-cooked flour manufacturing plants have used up corn inventories, one is MONACA and the other DAMASECA, while two POLAR plants have very few days of inventories left, says the Corn Flour Industrialists’ Association (VENMAÍZ). The plant in Turmero only has six days left while the plant in Chivacoa has two weeks left. (Veneconomy,


SIDOR claims rise in liquid steel production

Tomás Schwab, President of the SIDOR state owned steel plant, claims October production was 126,512 tons of liquid steel, 27% above its goal, according to a report by the government news agency, AVN. More in Spanish: (AVN;ó-27-meta-producción-acero-líquido-prevista-para-octubre)


... but metal working plants are stopping production lines

Miguel Eseverri, President of the Metalworking and Mining Industrial Association, reports his affiliate companies have stopped production lines due to the lack of basic supplies, primarily steel and aluminum caused by low production at the state run Guayana industrial complex. Idle capacity averages 30-40%. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,


CLOROX does not approve the government takeover, lawsuit looms

CLOROX has confirmed that it's Venezuelan affiliate will be managed by a special board appointed by the government here. It said these measures were taken "without the consent or participation" of the company, and it will not approve or participate in resuming production at its Venezuelan facilities. This could open the way to another international litigation case against Venezuela. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,; El Universal,



Economy & Finance


Economic Affairs VP rules out devaluation in 2015

General Rodolfo Marco Torres, Venezuela's Vice President for Economic Affairs and Minister of Economy and Finance, has said that "devaluation is not planned for next year." But added, "that type of information cannot be announced beforehand." Despite remarks by Venezuelan authorities three months ago that a unification of the foreign exchange system was under evaluation, due to the management complications of three different foreign exchange rates, the Minister now said "there are assurances that the foreign exchange system is to remain to cover the needs" of all sectors. As for crude oil prices, the Finance Minister "hopes" they will raise or remain steady. "This week it ended at USD 72. Let us wait, we hope it climbs or stays there," he said. (El Universal,


.....says no further indebtedness for current expenditure is planned for next year

General Marco Torres has told the National Assembly that the Annual Debt Law for 2015 provides the government "will not go into debt for current expenditures". (AVN;á-endeudamiento-para-gasto-corriente-2015-0; El Nacional;


...and reports over US$ 9 billion in debt has been paid out this year

The Minister also said the government has paid out over US$ 9 billion in capital, interest and foreign public debt service, including US$ 5 billion in sovereign and PDVSA bonds that came due in October. He said the government has sufficient resources in bolivars and FOREX to meet obligations. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,; El Nacional;


SCOTIABANK takes US$176 million charge on Venezuela

SCOTIABANK has announced that it expects to take a US$451 million pre-tax, or US$341 million after tax, charge to its 4th Quarter 2014 earnings. ScotiaBank has adopted a revised exchange rate used to translate unremitted dividends and the carrying value of its 26.6% interest in Banco del Caribe in Venezuela. As a result, the Bank expects to record a charge to income of approximately US$ 47 million related to unremitted dividends and record a write-down through Other Comprehensive Income of approximately US$ 129 million related to the carrying value of its Venezuelan investment. (Latin American Herald Tribune,



Politics and International Affairs


UN questions Venezuela over alleged cases of torture against dissenters, amid criticism over armed civilian groups

The United Nations Committee against Torture is questioning Venezuela over reports that more than 3,000 people detained during the anti-government protests staged in February suffered tortures or cruel or degrading treatment.
For the first time in 12 years, Venezuela appeared before the United Nations Committee against Torture. The committee is to determine whether the Venezuelan State complies with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Alarms have rung at the United Nations over the presence here of armed civilian groups and the increasing role of the military in matters beyond national security. Denmark's Jens Modvig - one of two officials assigned to prepare the report - asked at the hearings: "What is the position of the government on the "collectives", armed groups that operate outside the law but are in possible collusion with law enforcers? ¿Does it foresee forbidding and dismantling these groups?. (El Universal,; and more in Spanish:; El Nacional;


Amnesty International has urged Venezuelan authorities to comply with the recommendation from the UN Work Group on Arbitrary Detentions and release Leopoldo López immediately. The NGO said it was concerned López’ imprisonment was motivated by political reasons. (Veneconomy,


...and the Lopez trial gets postponed for a second time. His lawyers said Judge Susana Barreiros has not held sessions for the past 20 days in order to avoid responding to the UN resolution. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Business fears further persecution

FEDECÁMARAS President Jorge Roig has denounced that the new "Economic Intelligence Commission", created by President Maduro points to further "persecution" of business. "They continue to "intimidate investors, businessmen". He called the inclusion of the secret intelligence service into the Commission "surprising". More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Opposition braces for early elections

Tomás Guanipa, Secretary General of the Primero Justicia party, says unofficial reports indicate the government may week to advance legislative elections to June or July 2015 and the opposition must prepare to secure a majority in the National Assembly. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Top court candidates up to 33

The Judicial Nominations Committee has received 33 nominations to justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), 16 women and 17 men. Final designations will be sent to the National Assembly for approval by two thirds of the legislators. (El Universal,


Samper calls for a "social covenant" in Venezuela

Ernesto Samper, Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) says Venezuela needs a "great social covenant...not just a political dialogue on election guarantees". He says it should involve "all political sectors, social organizations, farmers and all take steps toward necessary economic adjustments". (El Universal,


Venezuela seeks Colombian extradition of Serra's alleged killer

Interior Minister Admiral Carmen Meléndez has announced that the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry is asking Colombia to extradite Leiva Padilla Mendoza, a Colombian charged with the murder of pro-government National Assembly legislator Robert Serra - "so that in a few days we may have him in Venezuela". Padilla was arrested last week by Colombian authorities in Cartagena. President Nicolás Maduro has made unsubstantiated claims that the local "extreme right" paid Colombian paramilitaries headed by Padilla US$ 500,000 to murder the congressman. Serra's chief escort is one of more than 10 arrested and confessed details and planning of the murder. More in Spanish: (Infolatam,


Bogotá terms criticism of meetings with Venezuelan opposition "exaggerated"

Colombian Foreign Minister, María Ángela Holguín, believes Venezuelan officials exaggerate when they criticize those who meet with the Venezuelan opposition. "I believe they exaggerate when they criticize not only us, but also the international community overall, for meeting with any representative of the Venezuelan opposition," Holguín said. Holguín's comments followed remarks made Captain Diosdado Cabello, the Speaker of the National Assembly, condemning Bogotá's Ambassador to Venezuela, Luis Eladio Pérez, for meeting with Venezuelan opposition leaders. (El Universal,


Colombia temporarily suspends MERCOSUR visas for Venezuelan citizens

The Colombian government has temporarily suspended visas for Venezuelan citizens under the MERCOSUR agreement since it has not received reciprocity from Venezuela under the migratory agreement is signed in 2012 when it entered the organization. Venezuelans must now obtain a consular visa to visit Colombia. As part of the advantages of Venezuela's membership in Mercosur, in terms of the "Free Residence Area with right to work," Venezuelans have been applying for a special visa (TP10) granting holders the right to stay and practice any profession in Colombia for up to three years. (El Universal,


Brazil complains over unannounced visit of Venezuelan Minister Jaua

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo expressed his government's discomfort of his government over a visit to Brazil by Elías Jaua, Venezuelan Minister for Communes and Social Movements Elías Jaua in late October, without giving Brazilian authorities proper notice. Figueiredo complained to Venezuela's Chargé d'Affaires about the visit and the fact that Jaua had signed cooperation agreement with the Landless Worker's Movement (MST) during his stay in Brazil, something that can even be considered as "meddling in internal affairs." (El Universal,; and more in Spanish:



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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