Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:
- Over 33,000 tons of corn from Alimentos y Forrajes S.A. for state agency Corporación de Abastecimiento y Servicios Agrícolas (CASA)
- Around 8,000 tons of foods in 293 containers bearing milk, coffee, beef, cooking oil and beans for CASA and Café Venezuela state agencies.
- 816 tons of processed corn for Easy Freight C.A.
- Over 410 tons in 43 containers bearing electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines from China for Lilly & Associates.
- Over 211 tons in 17 containers bearing toothpaste and sanitary napkins from Procter & Gamble Mexico for its Venezuelan affiliate.
- 167 tons of wood planking for the Socialist Cement Corporation.
- Over 110 tons in 11 vans of household appliances from Panama for Logística Multimodal (Logimodal).
- Over 81 tons of sodium percarbonate from Evonik Treibacher Persalze for Procter & Gamble
- Over 36 tons Toyota vehicles from Curiel International Logistics and Lilly Associates International for subsidiaries in Venezuela.
- Shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins and detergents for Procter&Gamble.
- A container with disposable razors for the Venezuelan Foreign Trade Corporation.
- Several containers bearing spare parts for Ford Venezuela.
- 8 vans with complete equipment for processing traditional condensed milk, for Taurel & Company.
Logistics & Transport
Port workers collective bargaining talks suspended...and workers paralyze terminal at Puerto Cabello
Karina Ordoñez, Secretary General of the Socialist Workers Union at Puerto Cabello, reports collective bargaining talks were suspended with no new date in sight as terms were sent to the National Inspector's office in Caracas. Workers at the terminal spontaneously paralyzed activities for 5 hours as a protest against the decision. More in Spanish: (Notitarde; http://www.notitarde.com/La-Costa/Suspendida-discusion-de-contrato-colectivo-portuario-2361426/2015/03/03/493014/; http://www.notitarde.com/La-Costa/Terminal-maritimo-de-Puerto-Cabello-paralizado-por-5-horas-2362047/2015/03/04/493257/
AVIANCA is cutting ticket sales in local currency "to the bare minimum"
Gerardo Grajales, Financial Director for AVIANCA Holdings, reports they are limiting ticket sales in local currency in Venezuela since exchange controls do not allow them to repatriate around US$ 300 million. He says AVIANCA has been cutting seats since last August and will cut sales in bolivars "to the bare minimum". More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/avianca-recortara-sus-ventas-de-boletos-en-bolivar.aspx#ixzz3Tb71GrCb; El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Avianca-Venta-bolivares-funcionarios-gobierno_0_586141479.html)
IBERIA reports that it has 200 million Euros blocked in Venezuela
IBERIA President Luis Gallego says his company has 200 million Euros is has not been able to repatriate from Venezuela. He says they intend to continue operations here but are adjusting offers to demand. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
Oil & Energy
Guyana says Exxon to begin offshore drilling, Venezuela irked
Exxon Mobil is starting exploration drilling at the large Stabroek Block off the coast of Guyana, the government said, in a move that could inflame a long-running territorial row with Venezuela. "They are doing the preparatory work, and actual drilling is expected to commence tomorrow (Friday) morning," says Guyana's Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud. Guyanese officials said President Donald Ramotar met Exxon Mobil officials in Georgetown this week and the company's exploration rig ship, Deepwater Champion, was now in position at the concession area. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/05/guyana-exxon-mobil-idUSL1N0W72RE20150305; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150305/venezuela-rejects-guyanas-protest-over-exxon-oil-prospecting)
Venezuela loses bid to reduce interest on Exxon arbitration award
A New York district court has rejected Venezuela's bid to reduce interest on a US$ 1.6 billion award that an international tribunal had ordered it to pay Exxon Mobil Corp in compensation for nationalizations. The decision is a setback for the government that has also sought revisions to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes' (ICSID) decision, in addition to its outright annulment. "The judgment shall continue to accrue interest at the rate that the ICSID award specified: 3.25% compounded annually, until Venezuela has made payment in full," District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ordered, denying Venezuela's motion. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/venezuela-exxon-idUSL1N0W621E20150304)
Uruguay may pay for Venezuelan oil with goods and services
Venezuela will allow Uruguay to pay for part of the oil it supplies with goods and services, through a 2005 cooperation agreement, according to a supplemental amendment signed in January by the presidents of both nations in order to make the agreement more flexible. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/uruguay-podra-pagar-con-bienes-y-servicios-parte-d.aspx#ixzz3TPRoj300; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/internacional/uruguay-podra-pagar-con-bienes-y-servicios-parte-d.aspx; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
The government owes the food industry US$ 805 million
Pablo Baraybar, President of the Food Industry Chamber (CAVIDEA), reports the government has not yet disbursed US$ 805 million it still owes the food industry for payments to international suppliers. "The delay is 195 days and this is what is needed to transfer to suppliers, the industries do not physically receive a single dollar". He estimates that in order to correct the situation"60% of the FOREX now used to import food should be directed to importing staples and intermediate goods for domestic production". More in Spanish: (El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/banca/-805-millones-adeuda-el-gobierno-a-la-industria-de.aspx#ixzz3Tb1AIOFv; Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/805-millones-de-dolares-adeuda-el-gobierno-a-la-in.aspx; El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Produccion-alimentos-caido-ano_0_586141582.html, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Cavidea-Dolar-Simadi-impactara-alimentos_0_586141475.html)
Economy & Finance
FEDECÁMARAS reports new FOREX system doesn't work, Central Bank is now allocating currency directly
FEDECAMARAS, Venezuela's principal business federation says the new FOREX system is "not benefitting" the economy and is "accelerating the crisis" in inventories. FEDECAMARAS Vice President Francisco Martínez says "we do not yet have a really reliable, transparent and free flowing system for acquiring FOREX needed for buying intermediate goods and staples for producing in Venezuela"...."this accelerates the crisis in inventories...and is reflected on the shelves". SIMADI’s poor design and the lack of dollar offers is raising alarm and forcing the parallel dollar or black market dollar skyrocket. Software-related problems allegedly have prevented smooth operation of the Exchange Marginal System (SIMADI), thus causing delays in transactions. In the meantime, the Central Bank cancelled a previously scheduled FOREX tender for banks and exchange houses and instead has begun allocating FOREX "according to needs". (VENECONOMY, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=42996&idc=2; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150305/interconnection-flaws-cause-delays-in-venezuelan-forex-system; and more in Spanish: El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/gremios/fedecamaras-denuncia-mal-funcionamiento-de-nuevo-s.aspx#ixzz3Tb1YvEKY; http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/extraoficial---bcv-suspende-subasta-de-divisas.aspx#ixzz3Tb32ijo4; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150306/bcv-suspende-subasta-de-dolares-para-el-menudeo; Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/fedecamaras-denuncia-mal-funcionamiento-de-simadi.aspx; El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Fedecamaras-critico-funcionamiento-sistema-cambiario_0_586141501.html; http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Suspenden-subasta-asignaran-directo-operadores_0_586141603.html)
Black market rate weakens below 250 bolivars per dollar
Venezuela's black market exchange rate has weakened below 250 bolivars per dollar as a new foreign exchange platform struggles to satiate avid demand for dollars. The bolivar has weakened 32% since the start of the year to fall to 255.43, according to website DolarToday, which says it publishes the black market rate based mostly on currency trades along the Colombian border. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/venezuela-forex-idUSL1N0W62E020150304)
A significant sale operation of gold from the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) reserves would take place very soon, according to journalist Nelson Bocaranda. The BCV’s board of directors is reportedly set to approve the sale of 1,400 Troy ounces, via the Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and Citibank, with around US$ 500 million from each bank, according to Bocaranda. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=42998&idc=2)
Venezuela as risky for investors as Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq
British risk advisors AON list Venezuela at the same risk level for investors as Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq. The company says Venezuela presents "high risks" in all economic areas, along with "particularly important problems in the legal, regulatory and foreign exchange areas". More in Spanish: (El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/Venezuela-invertir-Afganistan-Iran-Iraq_0_586141405.html)
Politics and International Affairs
Jailed opponents to be nominated to legislature, Prosecutor General claims López is barred
Jesús Torrealba, Secretary General of the opposition Democratic Unity Conference (MUD) says the three key jailed leaders, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, Voluntad Popular's Leopoldo López, and former San Cristóbal Mayor Daniel Ceballos, have agreed to be nominated to the National Assembly. The date for parliamentary elections has yet to be set. Torrealba added that if they are elected "by the sovereign people....if this should happen, if the people's decision is to take these three leaders out of jail, I do not see how the government can prevent it." Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega swiftly replied that Leopoldo López cannot run in the legislative elections because he has been banned from public office until 2017. She explained that “it is not that the candidacy is null, it’s he cannot be nominated.” López was banned from public office by the Comptroller General’s Office in 2008, in two consecutive “rulings” for six years and for three years. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=43000&idc=1; and more in Spanish: Infolatam, http://www.infolatam.com/2015/03/04/opositores-presos-ledezma-lopez-y-ceballos-seran-candidatos-parlamentarias/)
Maduro terms "stupid" speculation over leftist coup d'état
President Nicolás Maduro labeled news agency Efe as "stupid" following analyses and reports regarding the possibility of a coup d'état perpetrated by the government itself in order to put off the upcoming parliament vote, due to chavismo's declining popularity. "Coup perpetrators have reported that I am going to launch a coup. How Machiavellian is that! Those leading the Efe agency are stupid people who hate us," Maduro said during a rally in downtown Caracas to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of former President Hugo Chávez. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150305/maduro-terms-stupid-speculation-over-leftist-coup-detat)
US pushes back on Venezuela’s order to slash embassy staff
The United States has pushed back against Venezuela’s demand for a dramatic cut in the American diplomatic mission in Caracas. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says the U.S. noted that Venezuela was wrong about the number of diplomats it has working in the U.S. “The numbers the Venezuelan government has offered regarding the size of its mission in the United States dramatically understates the number of Venezuelan diplomats,” she said. Venezuela has 74 officials accredited by the US State Department, at its Embassy in Washington DC and 8 consulates - not 17 as Maduro announced. Harf said no American diplomats had been ordered to leave Venezuela. The U.S. was only ordered to submit a plan within 15 days on how it would reduce staffing at the embassy in Caracas and would respond “after due consideration of their request,” she said. Venezuela published also regulations removing the U.S. from a list of countries whose citizens can travel here without obtaining a visa. US citizens must now pay US$ 30 to receive a one year multiple entry visa for a total 90 days in Venezuela, applications must be made 90 days before the travel date. The same official notice also formally banned entry by a list of conservative U.S. politicians, including former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. (The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/us-pushes-back-on-venezuelas-order-to-slash-embassy-staff/; Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2377057&CategoryId=10717; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150305/us-to-respond-to-venezuelas-measures-via-diplomatic-channels); and more in Spanish: El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150306/estadounidenses-deben-pagar-30-por-la-visa-de-turista; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150306/gobierno-de-venezuela-tiene-74-diplomaticos-en-eeuu)
UNASUR confirms visit by secretary general and foreign ministers
The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has confirmed that a delegation of Unasur foreign ministers and Secretary General Ernesto Samper are meeting here with President Nicolás Maduro "to examine the situation in the country," and foster "rapprochement and dialogue with other political and social actors". (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150305/unasur-confirms-visit-of-secretary-general-and-foreign-ministers-to-ca)
Inter American Human Rights Commission asks regime to avoid "excessive use of force"
The Inter American Human Rights Commission has asked the Venezuelan regime to take steps to avoid the "excessive use of force" at demonstrations and has expressed regret at the death of a 14 year old high school student during protests in San Cristóbal. More in Spanish: (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150304/cidh-solicito-medidas-para-evitar-uso-excesivo-de-fuerza; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
Venezuela urges Guyana to reopen border dispute negotiations
The Venezuelan government has urged Guyana to reopen bilateral "negotiation" mechanisms to address a border dispute between both countries as soon as possible. The Venezuelan Foreign Office pointed out that discussions should be conducted "with no reservations or misunderstandings, in a peaceful, legitimate, and lawful manner, through the United Nations Secretary General Good Officer Process as an optimal and convenient methodology to undertake bilateral and friendly negotiations without the annoying interference of foreign factors, in order to reach a practical and satisfactory solution for both parties." (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150305/venezuela-urges-guyana-to-reopen-border-dispute-negotiations)
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.