Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:
- Over 1,810 tons of resins for manufacturing plastic containers in 80 containers from Charleston USA, for Pepsi Cola Venezuela.
- Over 1,398 tons of corn seeds in 61 containers from Mexico for state agency CORPOVEX
- Over 681 tons of herbicides and
growth inhibitors in 24 containers from New York USA for state agency CORPOVEX.
Over 657 tons of paper waste in 24 containers shipped by Simco Recycling Corp. and Kimberly Clark in the USA for Manufactura de Papel C.A. y Kimberly Clark Venezuela C.A.
- Over 304 tons of PET resin for manufacturing plastic containers, in 15 containers, from Charleston USA for Consorcio Oleaginosa Portuguesa.
- Over 100 tons of milk serum from Poland for Nestlé Venezuela.
Ford Venezuela to sell pickups, SUVs in dollars, workers demand dollar pay
The Venezuela division of Ford Motor Co will sell pickups and sport utility vehicles in dollars, part of a deal with the government to restart operations stalled for lack of hard currency to import parts, according to a union leader in the company. The country's auto assembly has tumbled as companies struggle to obtain greenbacks through the 12-year-old currency controls, which have also left companies unable to repatriate revenue from their Venezuela operations. "We're doing this to avoid closing the plant," said Gilberto Troya, president of the United Socialist Victorious Union of Ford workers, at a press conference. Troya says FORD workers should be also paid in US dollars. "We want our US$ 8 a day", he said in reference to the official exchange rate upon which current collective bargaining is based. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/13/venezuela-autos-idUSL1N0Y41R920150513; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150514/ford-vehicles-to-be-sold-at-simadi-rate-from-july-in-venezuela; and more in Spanish: Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/trabajadores-de-ford-en-venezuela-exigen-sueldo-en.aspx#ixzz3a6iWQNoi; El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/banca/trabajadores-de-ford-en-venezuela-exigen-sueldo-en.aspx)
Venezuelan authorities ponder auto parts sales in dollars
Venezuelan authorities are considering the possibility of allowing the use of US dollars in retail sales of auto parts and other raw materials used for the assembly of cars usually purchased by the local middle class. The move seeks to give some oxygen to the Venezuelan automotive sector, hit by serious shortages of spare parts and declining production, according to the head of the Confederation of Industries (CONINDUSTRIA) Eduardo Garmendia, who says authorities are considering the possibility to allow private customers to import auto parts through car dealers. "(Such imports) would be paid in dollars and used for car assembly by local companies," he says. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150513/venezuelan-authorities-ponder-auto-parts-sales-in-dollars)
Economy & Finance
Venezuela Central Bank reserves fall below US$ 18 billion as local currency falls past 300 to the dollar
Venezuela's international reserves fell through the psychological level of US$ 18 billion -- down over US$ 6 billion since March -- marking a new low since 2003. With heavy foreign debt burdens, falling crude production, falling crude production, increased domestic usage -- gasoline sells for less than a penny a gallon at the black market dollar rate -- Venzuela's foreign reserves have fallen to US$ 17.875 billion as of May 13. That is the lowest level of foreign reserves since 2003. At the same time, the Central Bank has increased the supply of bolivars in circulation (M2) in Venezuela 69% in the last 12 months, adding to rampant inflation that local investment bank Caracas Capital Markets now clocks at 165%. Those multiplying bolivars are chasing an ever smaller amount of dollars, driving the free market rate of dollars to pass 300 to the dollar. The currency has lost 50% of its value in 6 months, going from 150 bolivars to the dollar on November 28 to 300 to the dollar on May 13. "It took it 11 months to fall from 75 to 150," says Russ Dallen of investment bank Caracas Capital Markets. (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2387662&CategoryId=10717)
Central Bank has been forced to withdraw US$ 383 million from its special drawing rights with the IMF. In March there were US$ 2.25 billion in Venezuela's special drawing rights account, and by April this amount was down to US$ 1.98 billion. More in Spanish: (El Nacional, http://www.el-nacional.com/economia/BCV-retiro-parte-recursos-FMI_0_628137337.html )
Central Bank has not released any statistics for four months. These include inflation numbers (National Consumer Price Index), gross domestic product (GDP), and the indexes for the first quarter of 2015.
Nor has the BCV published total inflation for 2014, due by December 2014 or January 2015. Additionally, numbers on scarcity of staples have not been released for over two years. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150513/for-four-months-the-central-bank-of-venezuela-has-not-released-any-num)
Analysts believe Venezuela's economy is being unofficially "dollarized" by allowing certain goods and services to be traded at SIMADI rates. After authorizing the sale of airline tickets in dollars, the government is considering authorizing the automotive industry to do the same - and this opens the door to applying the same system to other areas with a high percentage of imported components. Real estate and private vehicles are often traded in FOREX, particularly by those who migrate. Appliances and cell phones are priced using the unofficial market, all of which distorts domestic prices and feeds a high rate of inflation. More in Spanish: (Últimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/infografia-venezuela-dolarizacion-informal.aspx#ixzz3aC4JZKV6 )
Venezuela intends to ban outsourcing entirely. Labor Minister Jesús Martínez says Venezuela is trying to eliminate outsourcing in labor, and that outsourced workers cannot be fired. More in Spanish: (AVN; http://www.avn.info.ve/node/301395)
U.S. companies rush to insulate themselves against Venezuela's currency, economic woes
A growing number of U.S. companies say they can't cope with Venezuela's sinking currency, prompting some of them to remove their operations here from their consolidated financial reports. In other cases, they have exited the country altogether through a sale or by simply shuttering their businesses there. Many of those recently taking such action are medium-sized or small companies, which means that the tumbling currency and a deeply troubled Venezuelan economy have tended to have a disproportionately greater impact on their results than suffered by bigger entities with business in the country. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/venezuela-usa-companies-idUSL1N0Y51US20150514)
Politics and International Affairs
Venezuela parliament leader squeezes media bosses over drugs story
Venezuela's powerful parliament head Diosdado Cabello has sought a travel ban on some media bosses he is suing for slander over reproducing a story from a Spanish newspaper accusing him of running a drug ring. Local media said the court hearing the case had granted the request against 22 media figures. Cabello sued opposition-leaning newspapers El Nacional and Tal Cual and website La Patilla for picking up an article by Spanish newspaper ABC alleging his former security chief had fled to the United Sates with evidence the Socialist Party's No. 2 controlled a military-run drug cartel. A local court had issued a ban on foreign travel by the 22 journalists sued by Cabello. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/venezuela-media-idUSL1N0Y52HX20150514; and more in Spanish: (Diario 2001, http://www.2001.com.ve/en-la-agenda/97153/prohiben-salir-del-pais-a-22-directores-de-medios.html; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
Top US diplomat visits Caracas to smooth tense relations, further meetings expected.
A senior U.S. State Department official has made a second visit to Caracas for talks aimed at easing tensions between the U.S. and this country. According to the State Department, Thomas Shannon left Caracas last Tuesday after a two-day visit. Details of the visit were not disclosed. Shannon previously visited Caracas in April to meet with President Nicolas Maduro. A source within the Venezuelan government has revealed that additional meetings are expected and are reportedly scheduled for the upcoming weeks, both in Venezuela and "elsewhere," the source added without providing further details. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150514/venezuelan-govt-to-hold-more-meetings-with-us-counselor-shannon; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150513/us-counselor-shannon-meets-with-venezuelan-govt-for-the-second-time; Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/top-us-diplomat-visits-caracas-smooth-tense-relations-143255479.html)
US Senators Rubio and Menendez meet with wives of Venezuela political prisoners Lopez and Ledezma
U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today met with Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López; Mitzy Capriles, wife of imprisoned Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, and Tamara Suju, International Director of leading Venezuelan human rights organizations Foro Penal. “My support for political prisoners held unjustly by President Maduro and sympathy for the spouses and supporters of these innocent leaders is boundless,” said Senator Menendez. “The struggles Leopoldo Lopez and Mayor Antonio Ledezma are enduring is a fight embraced by all who value democracy and human rights, and reject the suppression of universal freedoms. President Maduro’s repressive government and ruinous policies are failing the Venezuelan people and unjustly silencing opposing voices. With a growing number of legislators and former heads of state from throughout the hemisphere increasingly speaking out against the many failings of the Maduro government, it is imperative that current Presidents of Latin America join the chorus of growing voices that support freedom in Venezuela." (Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2387661&CategoryId=10717; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150514/us-senators-meet-with-wives-of-venezuelan-dissenters-voice-support)
Venezuela rejects alleged Human Rights violations of Colombian immigrants
In a communique issued by the Foreign Ministry, the government here rejected maneuvers to manipulate public opinion with alleged Human Rights violations of Colombian immigrants, by enemy sectors of peace and good relations between Colombia and Venezuela. The document released by the Foreign Ministry stressed that the country is home to over 5.6 million Colombians, who have access, without any discrimination or distinction based on nationality or migration status to all programs and social missions carried out by the Venezuelan government in areas such as health, food, education and housing. (AVN, http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/venezuela-rejects-alleged-human-rights-violations-colombian-immigrants; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150514/venezuelan-fm-denies-human-rights-abuses-against-deported-colombians)
Gaviria: Situation in Venezuela jeopardizes press freedom and human rights
The former President of Colombia and former Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), César Gaviria, is asking the international community to strive to promote dialogue between the Venezuelan government and its opposition. According to Gaviria, the involvement of the international community is necessary, because the current situation in Venezuela "seriously endangers freedom of the press and speech and respect for human rights." (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150514/gaviria-situation-in-venezuela-jeopardizes-press-freedom-and-human-rig)
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.