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 21, 2015

April 21, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello

  • Over 566 tons in 26 containers bearing natural rubber and sulphur for the Bridgestone tire manufacturer
  • Over 408  tons of truck parts from Mack in the United States for its local affiliate
  • Over 50 tons of auto parts from Ford for its local affiliate
Only 7 ships are offloading at Puerto Cabello, two of them carrying bulk cargo. More in Spanish: (Notitarde;



Oil & Energy


PDVSA and partners sell about US$ 75 million per month at new Venezuela FOREX rate

PDVSA is selling about US$ 50 million a month at a new advantageous foreign exchange rate, while joint ventures with foreign partners are putting in a further US$ 25-30 million a month via the SIMADI system, the state oil company's head said. The government created SIMADI in February as a third tier in Venezuela's complex currency controls to allow importers and others to buy dollars at a higher cost in local currency than the other official rates of 6.3 and 12 bolivars per dollar. But local businesses complain that even supply at SIMADI, where the dollar is going for around 197 bolivars, is limited, thus crimping its impact on unblocking access to foreign currency that is hampering Venezuela's recession-hit economy. (Reuters,


PDVSA claims Venezuela oil exports at 2.4-2.5 million barrels per day

Venezuela is currently exporting between 2.4-2.5 million barrels per day from national crude production of around 2.85 million, the head of state oil company PDVSA said. Venezuela's output figures have often conflicted with international agencies, which estimate lower output due to methodological differences about how to count extra-heavy crude. "We are producing right now 2.85 (million) of crude ... We have increased in the last four months 40,000 barrels per day. We plan to increase at the end of this year roughly 100,000 or 120,000 barrels per day, most from the Belt," PDVSA president Eulogio Del Pino said. "We are exporting in the order of 2.4, 2.5 (million)," he added, giving latest data to foreign reporters on a trip to the Orinoco Belt region in recent days. (Reuters,; El Universal,


Venezuela proposes novel OPEC oil blending deal to fight for market share

Venezuela has launched talks this month on a novel plan to blend the country's heavy crude with light oil from other OPEC allies, seeking to create a new variety that can compete against swelling U.S. and Canadian supplies. The proposal, which would expand on a pilot scheme involving Algerian oil last year, envisions supplying refineries built for medium-grade crudes rather than the light oil that has become plentiful as a result of the North American shale boom, said the head of state oil company PDVSA, Eulogio del Pino. Del Pino said he raised the idea during the Summit of the Americas in Panama earlier this month and at a meeting with ambassadors from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Caracas last week. He did not specify how other members had responded or what the next steps would be. (Reuters,


Venezuela oil price rises above $50

Venezuela's weekly oil basket price continued to rise for a fourth week in a row as oil prices around the world went up on fears of further strife in the middle east as Saudi Arabia continued fighting against Iranian-backed rebels in neighboring Yemen at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. According to figures released by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending April 17 was US$ 50.34, up US$ 2.17 from the previous week's US$ 48.17.  According to Venezuelan government figures, the average price in 2015 for Venezuela's mix of heavy and medium crude is now US$ 45.53. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,


Venezuela wants oil firm Harvest out, if it can find deep-pocketed buyer

Venezuela would prefer oil company Harvest Natural Resources Inc to leave, but wants it to sell a project stake to a company with financial muscle to make major investments, state oil company PDVSA said.  Harvest has been seeking to sell its stake in joint venture PETRODELTA following years complaining that PDVSA is not allowing it to collect dividends. Venezuela has blocked two proposals to sell that stake to other companies. The buyer of Harvest's stake should be willing to pay a bonus to the government and put in roughly US$ 600 million over five years to boost PETRODELTA output from 40,000 barrels per day to 100,000 bpd, PDVSA President Eulogio Del Pino said. (Reuters,


Venezuela, Iran strengthen oil alliance

Once again, Iran and Venezuela have acted jointly against "threats" from the United States and seem determined to coordinate a response to the steady decline of oil prices, during an impromptu visit to Iran be Venezuela's ministers of Foreign Affairs and Petroleum and Mining. (El Universal,



Economy & Finance


IMF projections for Venezuela in 2015, cutting expenses seen as very necessary

The International Monetary Fund has projected its economic figures for Venezuela during, as follows:

  • GDO: -7% (minus 7%), the worst in the entire Hemisphere.
  • Inflation: 96.8% inflation
  • Fiscal deficit 20% of GDP
  • Unemployment: 16.1%, twice that registered in 2014.

The IMF's Chief Economist for Latin America, Alejandro Werner, says the Venezuelan government has the huge challenge of adjusting expenses to income "to avoid current economic adjustment becoming more disorganized, more traumatic, bringing more uncertainty and impacting economic activity further."  More in Spanish: (El Mundo,;


Venezuela receives US$5 billion in finance from China

Venezuela has received US$5 billion in financing from China, according to President Nicolas Maduro. The money is for "development", he said on Sunday, but gave no details. The announcement comes three months after Maduro travelled to China - a major investor in the region - and at the time said that China would invest more than US$ 20 billion in Venezuela. He did not make clear in Sunday's announcement if these latest US$ 5 billion were part of that larger sum. The funds should be a boost to Venezuela, which has been hit hard by falling oil price. Venezuela managed to renew one of the funding agreements through which it has received US$ 46 billion so far from China, and Venezuela repays in shipments of oil. (BBC,; El Universal,


Guayana's basic industries aim to consolidate socialist model

President Nicolás Maduro says the main objective of Plan Guayana Socialista (Socialist Guayana Plan) is to produce, thrive and boost basic industries to strengthen and support the social model of the Revolution with the aim of improving living standards of the working class. (AVN,



Politics and International Affairs


El Aissami confirms former Finance Minister in US witness protection

Pro government Aragua state governor Tareck El Aissami says his predecessor Rafael Isea is "a traitor to the Bolivarian revolution" and joined the US protected witness program to "provide garbage information on Venezuela". He accused Isea of being a "bandit" and said that he did not speak out earlier at the request of the late president Chavez.  Rafael Isea is a former military officer who joined Chavez in his 1992 coup attempt and later took part in the 1999 Constitutional Assembly, was a member of the National Assembly, President of the Economic and Social Development Bank, Finance Minister, and governor of Aragua state. He left for the United States in 2013 and joined the DEA witness protection program. Tareck El Aissami, a former Minister of the Interior, has been accused of being part of a drug cartel and of having link to Middle Eastern terrorists. More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Maduro marks second year in office

President Nicolás Maduro marked his second year in office by delivering housing units in Caracas and Vargas state (north-central Venezuela). During the ceremony, he congratulated his supporters for the nomination of the candidates that are to be elected by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on June 28 to run for National Assembly (AN) Deputies. He also commemorated the 205th anniversary of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence. He described his two years in office, which he described as a "hard fight plagued with setbacks caused by a battered, increasingly divided, dull right-wing that is always plotting to harm Venezuela." (El Universal,


European Union FMs to address Venezuela's situation on Monday

Venezuela's situation will be discussed by the ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union (EU), who will meet on Monday to debate about the relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, among other issues, such as the challenging situation in Yemen and Libya.

The European heads of diplomacy will hold "a general discussion" on how to enhance political links and economic cooperation with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, with a view to preparing the upcoming EU-Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit to be hold next June 10-11 in Brussels. (El Universal,


Spain's former President Felipe González will visit Venezuela to defend López

The trial against Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López will begin again and the former president of Spain Felipe González will travel to Venezuela soon to join López's defense team in the final stage of the trial. Lopez´s defense attorneys say González will do this pro bono as a technical advisor, and that the court has been notified. González will undertake additional efforts in Venezuela to seek the release of López. The Inter American Human Rights Commission has asked the Venezuelan government to protect the live and personal integrity of both López and imprisoned San Cristóbal former mayor Daniel Ceballos, whom it believes are at high risk. (El Universal,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional,


UNASUR delegation to attend parliamentary elections in Venezuela

An delegation from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will attend parliamentary elections to be held this year in Venezuela, says Ernesto Samper, secretary of the regional bloc. "We have received a request from the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, to create a delegation to accompany parliamentary elections in Venezuela, and we are engaged in the task of setting it up," he said in a press conference at UNASUR headquarters in Quito, Ecuador. After meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Serguéi Lavrov, Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz has said they both agreed UNASUR "can play a constructive role in dialogue between the government and opposition, and in assisting economic reform." (AVN,; and more in Spanish: El Universal,

The European Union discusses Venezuela

Foreign Ministers of the European Union discussed relations with Latin America and gave special attention to Venezuela. Sources within the Union say it seeks to "maintain contact" and "seek freedom for political prisoners". Spain's Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo says "all the nations that have spoken have shown concern" over Venezuela's political and economic situation. He added that "over a half million European Union nationals are living" in Venezuela and "45% of foreign investments" here are European. 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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