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.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015

International Trade


Uruguay wants to pay Venezuela for oil with agricultural products

Uruguayan Vice President Raul Sendic met with his Venezuelan counterpart, Jorge Arreaza, to discuss an exchange of Venezuelan oil for rice, dairy products and poultry. The officials met on Wednesday and agreed to implement a trade and energy program, expanding bilateral business in those areas. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,



Logistics & Transport


VENECONOMY: much more than a simple dollar quota restriction to Venezuelan travelers

The ruling issued by the National Center for Foreign Trade (CENCOEX) imposing new requirements, amounts and restrictions to Venezuelan travelers segregates the private banking system in the management of foreign currency for travelers, and subjects thousands of citizens who do not have access to the public banking system to an apartheid. (Latin American Herald Tribune,



Oil & Energy


Oil minister meets OPEC nation ambassadors

Venezuela said ambassadors of various OPEC countries, including Saudi Arabia met the country's oil minister Asdrubal Chavez in Caracas on a "courtesy visit." The Oil Ministry claimed the group was discussing Venezuela's oil-rich Orinoco belt with state oil company PDVSA President Eulogio del Pino and Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez. (Reuters,; El Universal,


VENECONOMY reports rumor that PDVSA’s Chief Eulogio del Pino could have resigned as a result of disagreements with the government which refused to pay pending debts he had promised oil workers to pay out. It was said the new chief would be former Internal Affairs and Justice Minister Major General Miguel Rodríguez Torres. (Veneconomy,


PDVSA offers to buy Harvest oil assets in Venezuela JV-source

State oil company PDVSA is reported to have offered to buy oil and gas producer Harvest Natural Resources Inc's stake in the PETRODELTA joint venture. Houston-based Harvest has said the government. was blocking a sale of its stake in Petrodelta and that it is facing a cash crunch in part due to the dispute. "The offer by PDVSA last week was in a fair range to settle the deal taking into consideration today's oil prices," said a source close to PDVSA, who declined to comment on the terms of the proposal. (Reuters,


STATOIL considering new Oil Belt investments

STATOIL International Vice President Pal Eirheim and a group of company executives from Brazil toured operating areas of the Orinoco oil belt, and later spoke of the outlook they have for developing operations there. More in Spanish: (VTV,; PDVSA,





Beef industry subsidy  now under study, private sector asks price adjustment & debt repayment

A press release by the Ministry for Land and Agriculture says the possibility of a special subsidy to the beef industry to compensate costs was raised during a meeting with private sector representatives. The private sector Venezuelan Beef Council (CONVECAR) disagrees with the idea and are seeking a price adjustment. CONVECAR President Otto Gómez says "the government should pay debts of many years it owes the private sector, they owe millions of dollars"; but the pro-government organization CONFAGAN say they are open to the idea. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,;; AVN;ón-subsidio-al-sector-cárnico;ón-del-sector-cárnico,ón-insumos-precios-justos-sector-cárnico;ón-agropatria-para-adquirir-insumos-del-sector-cárnico; El Nacional,


Regime orders POLAR to redirect flour to government distribution system

Authorities here ordered POLAR to redirect 201,600 kilos of precooked corn flour to the PDVAL state agency. The company said private supermarkets and grocery stores in low income areas will not be able to received planned orders due to this order. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,



Economy & Finance


IMF: Venezuelan economy will contract 7% in 2015, worst in Latin America

The International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook indicates Venezuela will suffer the greatest contraction - 7% - in Latin America during 2015 due to the collapse of oil prices. More in Spanish: (Últimas Noticias:


Private sector to receive 28% less FOREX, U$ 25 billion deficit projected

Asdrúbal Oliveros, director of the ECOANALÍTICA think tank, estimates "the cutback in FOREX allocations to the private sector will be 28% in 2015. 9.8% in food, 78.8% in the automotive sector; 61.4% in trade; 21.6% in chemicals; 68.3% in machinery and equipment". He says the 2015 budget deficit this year is around US$ 25 billion. "Real expenses increase and income falls, this is why it creates debt and seeks financing." More in Spanish: (El Nacional,


Maduro: "We must insist on an economy that sustains welfare plans", but sees no oil price recovery

"We should continue on the way to a self-propelled productive economy that sustains the development of welfare plans," says President Nicolás Maduro on his Twitter account @Nicolasmaduro. He also said there was no recovery in oil prices forecast this year, stressing the country's dwindling dollar income should be "correctly" administered. Maduro said his socialist government's social programs would continue even if oil prices were to sink to US$ 20 per barrel. (El Universal,; (Reuters,


Price of Venezuelan bonds rises

The price of Venezuelan bonds rebounded early this week, as oil prices rose and investors regarded as positive the measure of reducing expenditure in foreign currency adopted recently by the Venezuelan government.

This, added to the likely increase in the price of gasoline aimed at saving resources, strengthens government prospects to meet debt repayments. (El Universal,


Gold Reserve targets Venezuela assets as arbitration spat heats up

Gold Reserve Inc, a small Canadian miner that lost its crown jewel in a 2009 expropriation, is targeting Venezuelan assets as it seeks to collect a US$ 750 million arbitration award that would put new strains on the cash-strapped government's finances. With higher-profile cases including Exxon and ConocoPhillips mired in delays, a technicality in Gold Reserve's case filing has allowed it to aggressively seek out new jurisdictions to execute its award. Its actions could affect bondholders. Gold Reserve said it has served various Luxembourg banks with writs of garnishment relating to around US$ 700 million in interest payments on Venezuelan bonds and funds. The company targeted banks seen as paying or transfer agents. (Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,



Politics and International Affairs


Opposition demands the Elections Council correct pro-government manipulation

The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Conference (MUD) is demanding that the National Elections Council (CNE) rectify its attempt to manipulate population figures in order to lower legislative representation in heavily populated pro opposition districts and reassign seats to sparsely areas dominated by the government party machinery. It has also demanded they correct a move by National Assembly President Captain Diosdado Cabello to eliminate legally mandated direct election of representatives to the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO) and take the election to the National Assembly. Since 1989 and according to law here, representatives are directly elected in a nationwide vote for party slates. Cabello and the pro government majority at the National Assembly have changed the rule in order to have the National Assembly, currently dominated by the government, make the selection. MUD Secretary General Jesús Torrealba says: "This shows fear. They know the beating the people will give them (in upcoming parliamentary elections)", in view of their 80% rejection in recent polls. Torrealba met with CNE President Tibisay Lucena and CNE officials and denounced the "dastardly use of State institutions" to create advantages for the government, and denounced manipulation of population numbers by the National Statistics Institute. He called this "an attack against peace, not against the opposition". The move to suppress direct election of PARLATINO representatives has drawn widespread criticism, even from ruling party PARLATINO representative and former Chavez cabinet member Ana Elisa Osorio. MUD representative Ramón Guillermo Aveledo will denounce these moves internationally. More in Spanish: (El Universal,;; El Nacional,;


MUD sends the OAS a report on human rights in Venezuela

The opposition coalition MUD has sent OAS Secretary General elect Luis Almagro a report pointing to specific cases of human rights violations against political leaders and media here. It reports the regime harasses media such as El Nacional, El Nuevo País and La Patilla news web page in order to instill fear and promote self censorship. It also reports political prisoners, exiles and students under duress abroad. There are 89 political prisoners in Venezuela and 2,006 people under parole, according to NGO Foro Penal. Forty-three out of those imprisoned for political reasons were arrested during the protests against Nicolás Maduro’s government in 2014 and 21 of them are students and five Twitter users. The MUD's letter denounces the National Elections Board (CNE) for failing to set the date for parliamentary elections and seeks international observers for the entire process. (Veneconomy,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional,


Regime announces a “thorough” review of ties with Spain; Spain calls Maduro's language "intolerable"

The Venezuelan government will conduct an “thorough” review of its relations with Spain, says Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez after meeting with the Spanish envoy in Caracas. She called in Spain’s envoy a day after Maduro vowed to enact a package of responses to a resolution from the Spanish Parliament calling for the immediate release of several Venezuelan opposition leaders jailed on charges of instigating anti-government violence. Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain Mario Isea called for "respect" for his country amidst Madrid-Caracas diplomatic tensions, were sparked off by President Nicolás Maduro's criticism of  his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy. Maduro accused Mariano Rajoy of "racism". The Spanish Foreign Ministry his "statements, insults and threats" against Spain are "intolerable" and "do not contribute to minimum agreements between governments". Rebeca Grynspan, Iberamerican Secretary General called for dialogue to lower tensions. More in Spanish: (Latin American Herald Tribune,; Veneconomy,; El Universal,; and more in Spanish: Infolatam:


The Senates of Chile and Colombia also asked for the release of Venezuelan political prisoners in resolutions passed on Wednesday. (Veneconomy,; El Universal,


Guyana continues to seek oil in disputed area

Guyanese President Donald Ramotar visited areas under development by ExxonMobil in the Stabroek area. Around 120 miles inside the territory disputed by Venezuela. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


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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