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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived in Puerto Cabello:

  • 23,000 tons of durum wheat from Canada for Pastas Sindoni C.A.
  • 11,132 tons of chicken from JBS S/A for CASA
  • 4,000 tons of calcium phosphate from North Carolina
  • 2,999 tons of degummed soybean oil from CARGILL US for Alimentación Balanceada (ALIBAL)
  • Over 656 tons of milk in 22 vans from JBS S/A for CASA
More in Spanish: (Notitarde;;; El Nacional;; Bolipuertos,


Cargo that has arrived at La Guaira:

  • 20,000 tons of wheat from Canada for government agencies.
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,



Logistics & Transport


Frontier airport closings further isolate Táchira state

Two airports near the Venezuela-Colombia border have been shut down until further notice, adding to the isolation of Táchira state. The only airport functioning in Táchira is in the town of La Fría, some 40 kilometers from the state capital of San Cristóbal. More in Spanish: (El Universal,



Oil & Energy


Maduro says Venezuelan oil price down to US$ 35 per barrel, could go down to US$ 30 or less

President Nicolás Maduro has announced that the price for Venezuelan oil dropped down to US$ 35 per barrel, and added "I think it will go to US$ 30 or will go lower". Maduro went on to say: "We are maneuvering to see if an alliance between OPEC and Russia allows us to achieve the miracle of stabilizing prices". He said that despite this social spending would not be reduced. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,


Crisis in Venezuela likely to worsen further after slump in oil prices

Venezuela, a country that boasts having the world's largest oil reserves in the world, is now in ruins, literally speaking, despite having enjoyed a winning streak due to a sustained boom in crude oil prices for more than a decade.
A "winning" streak during the worst possible moment in the history of the country, when a ruling elite used the resources for (1) establishing a political-social and economic project demonstrably failed in other times and latitudes; (2) buying allegiances within the region and fund similar projects in other countries of the hemisphere; and (3) feeding the hunger for easy riches of its national and foreign counterparts. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Three years without an explanation

This week marked the three year anniversary of the fire at the Amuay Refinery that resulted in 42 fatalities, five missing people, 135 wounded and material losses for US$ 1.1 billion. Three years later, there has been no official information as to the causes of the tragedy and PDVSA’s President and recently appointed Oil and Mining Minister Eulogio del Pino wrote in his Twitter account; “Three years ago, the Right attacked… Amuay… seeking to destabilize our Homeland.” (Veneconomy,



Economy & Finance


FEDECAMARAS estimates 9-10% GDP drop this year

FEDECÁMARAS, Venezuela's principal business federation, estimates the nation's GDP could contract 9-10% this year due to "two great bottlenecks": "strict controls" on FOREX and prices. FEDECÁMARAS President Francisco Martínez says: "we have a weak economy because trust is gone". More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; El Universal,; El Mundo,; El Nacional;


Venezuela is adding more zeroes to its currency to deal with hyperinflation

Venezuela is preparing to issue bank notes in higher denominations next year as rampant inflation reduces the value of a 100-bolivar bill to just 14 cents on the black market. The new notes -- of 500 and possibly 1,000 bolivars -- are expected to be released sometime after congressional elections are held on Dec. 6, said a senior government official who isn’t authorized to talk about the plans publicly. Many Venezuelans have to carry wads of cash in bags instead of wallets as soaring inflation and a declining currency increase the number of bills needed for everyday purchases. The situation is set to get worse. Inflation, already the fastest in the world, could end the year at 150%, said the official. (Bloomberg,


JP Morgan projects Venezuela's 2016 deficit at US$ 16 billion

JP Morgan reports that Venezuela's need for external financing will be up to US$ 16 billion in 2016, as the gap between income and outflows is 200% above 2015 estimations. Total financing required is estimated at US$ 24 billion, US$ 2 billion less than in 2015, but the nation will only be able to cover up to US$ 8 billion, which means there could be a US$ 16 billion deficit. The report estimates average oil prices for 2016 at US$ 40 per barrel. It also estimates an 8.8% reduction in imports. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


30% of Venezuelans are having only two meals or less a day, as a result of shortages and inflation, according to Consultores 21, cited in an article published by The Wall St. Journal. (Veneconomy,



Politics and International Affairs


Distraught Colombians flee Venezuela as border dispute intensifies

Hundreds of Colombians waded across a border river with fridges, chickens and mattresses on their backs as goats and children followed under the scorching tropical sun, victims of an escalating dispute with Venezuela's government. Saying they were forced from their rickety wooden or corrugated metal homes and scared of what might happen next if they stayed inside Venezuela, they fled across the River Tachira and back into their homeland. Most of the refugees have lived for years in Ernesto Guevara, an extremely poor Venezuelan border village, or other nearby settlements, but they were forced to leave after Venezuelan authorities marked their homes with a "D" for "demolition" over the weekend. Venezuela says it is cracking down on paramilitary and smuggling gangs active along the border but the families fleeing said they had nothing to do with crime along the long and porous border plagued by drug trafficking, paramilitaries, left-wing guerrillas and smugglers. Maduro last week closed an official border crossing near here and suspended some constitutional guarantees along parts of the border, allowing authorities the right to search homes and businesses without a warrant, after Venezuelan soldiers were injured in a firefight with smugglers. Across the river on Colombian soil, authorities are helping the distraught families find refuge. The Colombian government says more than 1,000 people have been unfairly deported. "Flattening houses, using force against people, separating families, not allowing them to take their few possessions and marking the houses for demolition is totally unacceptable and is a reminder of bitter episodes of humanity that cannot be repeated," President Juan Manuel Santos said. (The New York Times:; Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; Veneconomy,; El Universal,


Maduro rules out re-opening border with Colombia

President Nicolas Maduro has reiterated the border with Colombia will remain closed until minimum conditions are met, including the capture of the perpetrators of the attack on Venezuelan military and the dismantling of 'paramilitary groups' in the area. "The border will remain closed gentlemen, until we re-establish a minimum of coexistence, respect for law and life, and economy," Maduro said at a press conference. "It will remain closed, no matter what they say in Bogota, in Cucuta, I do not care what they say about me." Maduro said last Thursday's attack on three soldiers and a civilian, "was not accidental, but an order, for which 100 million Colombian pesos were paid." (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Santos: Venezuela's problems are not made in Colombia

"Venezuela's problems are made in Venezuela; they are not made in Colombia or elsewhere in the world," says Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos referring to a border crisis that has generated thousand deported Colombians due to the state of emergency decreed by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. "Shortage in stores, in supermarkets, is worse than in Kabul or Syria," Santos added. Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis continued on Venezuela-Colombia border due to the deportation, since last Friday, of more than one thousand Colombians residing in Venezuela. (El Universal,


Foreign Ministers meeting fails to reach agreement on opening borders

Foreign Affairs Ministers María Angela Holguín (Colombia) and Delcy Rodríguez (Venezuela) met for six hours in Cartagena to seek an end to border crisis, but failed to reach an agreement on reopening the border. They agreed to combat smuggling and other crimes along the border, and said Defense Ministers would later meet. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;; Agencia Venezolana de Noticias;; El Universal,


Cabello says "we will declare a state of siege on all our borders if necessary"

Lieutenant Diosdado Cabello, President of the National Assembly, announced the approval of a special decree during a meeting of pro regime legislators and the Táchira, Zulia and Mérida state governors. "If it is necessary to declare a state of siege on all of Venezuela's borders, we legislators will raise both our hands. Count on us, Mr. President". More in Spanish: (El Universal,; El Nacional;


Colombia's Solicitor General to sue Venezuela at ICC for crimes against humanity

Colombia's Solicitor General, Alejandro Ordóñez has announced that he is collecting data to lodge a lawsuit against the government of Venezuela at the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of methods recently used by Venezuelan authorities to deport undocumented Colombian immigrants. "We are collecting data on those aggressions to bring them to the attention of the International Criminal Court, because these are crimes against humanity," Ordóñez said. (El Universal,


Táchira’s Governor José Gregorio Vielma Mora asked the Colombian government to repeal legislation that supports FOREX offices in Cucuta. He said there are over 3,000 such offices in Cucuta which seek to attack the bolívar. (Veneconomy,


UNASUR supports a bilateral agreement on border crisis

Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Ernesto Samper, says he has conveyed to presidents Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia) and Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela) that the organization is willing to help reach a bilateral agreement in relation to the recent border crisis between the countries. Samper noted that UNASUR's intervention would be subject to three conditions, namely "immediate suspension of deportations of Colombians, creating a joint mechanism to fight organized crime, and seeking economic mechanisms to tackle foreign exchange and price unbalances on the border, which cause smuggling." (El Universal,


Amnesty International concerned over HR at Venezuela-Colombia border

Human rights organization Amnesty International says it is concerned about alleged human right violations on the Colombia-Venezuela border. (El Universal,


Opposition will invite outside observers "with or without" Elections council authorization

Venezuela's opposition United Democratic Conference (MUD) will invite outside observers to upcoming parliamentary elections, "with or without" the authorization of the National Elections Council. MUD international affairs coordinator Timoteo Zambrano said "for obvious reasons we cannot provide any more details." More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Guyana to appoint new ambassador to Venezuela in next 4 weeks

Guyana plans to appoint a new ambassador to Venezuela during the next four weeks amid diplomatic tensions over the disputed Essequibo region, an official spokesperson said. The current envoy to Venezuela, Geoffrey Da Silva, is in the process of returning to Georgetown (Latin American Herald Tribune,; 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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived in Puerto Cabello:

  • 4,435 tons of milk from Sancor Cooperativas Unidas, Eskimo S.A., Centrolac, JBS S.A. and Alba Petróleos El Salvador for state agency CASA
  • 3,830 tons of coffee from Cooperativa Regional de Café for CASA
  • 367 tons of beef from Industria Comercial San Martín for CASA
More in Spanish: (Notitarde;


Cargo that has arrived in Maracaibo:

  • 22,640 tons of wheat arrived Thursday August 20, 2015.
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


Over 12,000 tons of raw sugar arrived at the port of La Ceiba

12,500 tons of bulk raw sugar arrived in Port Bolivarian La Ceiba, Trujillo state, from Nicaragua for the Venezuelan Sugar Corporation (CVA). More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


400 Chinese taxis have arrived

Transportation Minister Haiman El Troudi has announced that 400 Chery vehicles have arrived from China, to be assigned to taxi drivers nationwide. He says it is part of a 20,000 vehicle purchase by the Venezuelan government under their agreement with China. More in Spanish:



Oil & Energy


Venezuelan oil barrel is now down to US$ 37.3

President Nicolás Maduro has announced that the price of Venezuelan oil has dropped down another dollar to US$ 37.3 per barrel. The Ministry for Oil and Mining is charged with officially announcing oil prices, but Maduro frequently advances information ahead of them. Venezuela's oil price has dropped US$ 19.05 since June this year. More in Spanish: (El Universal:


Algiers, Iran and Venezuela are pushing for an OPEC meeting to seek oil price stabilization, but market sources believe it is unlikely this will happen and, to the contrary, believe OPEC will maintain production levels. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,


PDVSA must ship more oil to China due to the drop in oil prices.

A study by ECOANALÍTICA reveals that oil shipments to China in 2008 were 0.8% of total production and the amount is now at 13.6%. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,


Francisco Monaldi: Venezuelan oil production is falling more than ever

Francisco Monaldi, founding director and professor with the International Center of Energy, Institute of Administration Higher Studies (IESA), says the status of state-owned oil company PDVSA is "precarious." He adds: "The plunge of oil prices caught us when our production has been declining, even though Pdvsa claims that it is getting steady and even in the (Orinoco Oil) Belt it is raising. Our production of conventional oil is falling as never before," and says that when all oil producing countries lifted their production during the stage of oil high prices, "we did just the opposite". (El Universal,





Union head says government implements rescue plan in FORD, dismisses potential shutdown

The Venezuelan government says it is implementing a rescue plan in FORD Venezuela, to help the company keep operating through the end of 2015 and to recover approximately 12,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the head of the company's trade union - who claimed that the government injected funds to buy assembly material to help produce 400-600 units in September. "For this year, production is estimated at 5,000 units, very low as compared to previous years," he said, dismissing a potential shutdown of the company. (El Universal,


Plastics industry is operating at 30% capacity

Julio Polanco, head of the Plastics, Chemical and Acrylic Industry Union says the industry is operating at 30% capacity due to lack of supplies. He adds that the state owned El Tablazo petrochemical complex is operating at 50% capacity. He says around 9,000 direct and 16,000 indirect jobs are at risk. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;



Economy & Finance


BANCTRUST estimates economy will contract by 6.8%, inflation projected at 186%

BANCTRUST estimates Venezuela's economy will contract by 6.8% by the end of 2015, a much larger drop than previously estimated, due to "specific corrective policies". The report explains the recession underway is caused by economic distortions, strict regulations and corruption that is hindering public and private domestic production. Its inflation projections have also been adjusted upwards from 123% to 187% by the end of the year. The cause for rising prices are, among others, increased liquidity and black market sales. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Venezuelan bonds hit my worldwide market crisis

Venezuelan bonds have dropped an average 1.25 points due to the worldwide market crisis. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,



Politics and International Affairs


Maduro declares state of emergency along Colombia border, opposition charges it is a distraction from elections

President Nicolas Maduro has now declared a 60 day state of emergency in a notoriously lawless area along the border with Colombia to restore order after a clash between smugglers and troops left three soldiers wounded. The measure will remain in effect for 60 days in five municipalities of the Venezuelan state of Tachira, where smugglers of gasoline and subsidized food products have increasingly clashed with security forces. He also deployed hundreds of additional troops in the area. "We've been discovering a frightful reality about how the criminals and paramilitaries operate. I'm under the obligation to free Venezuela of all this," Maduro said. The decree suspends constitutional guarantees in those areas, except for guarantees relating to human rights. Opponents of Maduro's administration immediately denounced the move as an attempt to distract attention from a deep economic crisis that has led to collapsing support for the socialist government. In a statement, the Democratic Unity Alliance called on the international community to take note of what it considers a clear provocation likely to generate economic losses and threaten legislative elections scheduled for December. "The decree of a state of emergency, only 109 days before crucial parliamentary elections, may be the escape valve used by the government to avoid a defeat that is both imminent and certain," the opposition alliance said. Former Venezuelan presidential candidate, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles called Maduro's state of emergency a "show" and says it has been two years since the Venezuelan president has visited the border state. "What are you playing at?", he asked, adding: "quit the show and face the people of Táchira". (Reuters,; Bloomberg,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; Veneconomy,; ABC News,; and more in Spanish: El Nuevo Herald:; El Nacional:


Colombia calls for both sides not to make political use of border crisis, rejects attacks on Uribe

Colombia's Foreign and Interior Ministers, María Angela Holguín and Juan Fernando Cristo have underlined the need to seek "cooperation" and not "confrontation" to overcome the difficult case of Colombians expelled from Venezuela. They explicitly rejected Maduro's attacks on former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who heads that nation's main opposition party. "Adjectives and personal disqualification against former President Uribe must be rejected", they said. "We call upon political leadership in both nations to not fall into the easy temptation of using the complicated situation obtain political benefits as we are close to elections in both Colombia and Venezuela". And add that: "it is not by closing the border or deporting Colombians that the problems in these areas will be solved...It is unacceptable to use the situation the border is going through and the suffering of so many Colombians to obtain political benefits", and add that "the aggressiveness we hear on both sides of the border does not help the difficult situation". Images have circulated since last week showing Venezuelan authorities marking the houses of Colombians living in border areas with an "R", which seems to mean revised; or a "D", which appears to mean the living quarters should be demolished. Venezuela's opposition is accusing Maduro of using the border as a smoke screen to hide the political and social crisis, and in Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos is under fire from critics who says he is weak with the Venezuelan government. Colombia will elect mayors and governors in October, and Venezuela will have parliamentary elections in December. Colombia has condemned deportations of its citizens after Venezuela closed its border with its western neighbor last week. The two countries are due to hold talks on the issue on Wednesday. After travelling to the north-eastern city of Cucuta to review the situation, Colombia's Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo said Venezuela had created a "humanitarian tragedy". Over a thousand Colombians have been forcefully deported from Táchira to Colombia since the state of emergency was decreed in that state, amidst numerous reports of ill treatment and violations to human rights. Táchira Governor José Vielma Mora has reported 791 Colombian citizens who were in Venezuela illegally had already been turned over to the Colombian Consulate. The Colombian government has set up an office in the bordering city of Cucuta an office to address the situation of Colombians deported from Venezuela as ordered by Caracas. (BBC News:; Reuters,; Veneconomy,; El Universal,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional:; El Universal:


Report says clash between military gangs over drugs caused border incident

Miami's NUEVO HERALD daily reports sources familiar with the case say a clash between drug gangs within the Venezuelan armed forces sparked the incident that led to the border closing with Colombia and the state of emergency decreed by President Maduro. It reports sources close to intelligence information said "it was a clash between cartels, betweens officials in the National Guard and the Army, and the attack took place because the civilian involved was providing a place to store their cash". Key Armed Forces and government officials are under investigation in the US under suspicion that they are the ones in control of major drug operations in Venezuela. Former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana said Monday it was unbelievable Colombians were paying the cost “of a cartel war,” and called on President Juan Manuel Santos and FA Minister María Angela Holguín to take a stand on the border shut-down. (Veneconomy,; and more in Spanish: (El Nuevo Herald,


Regime's socialist alliance sees support fall below one in five as intent to vote surges

Support for Venezuela’s ruling Socialist coalition slipped below one in five this month in the build up to the Dec. 6 congressional elections as the economy suffers the biggest recession outside Sub-Saharan Africa. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, and allies are backed by 19.3% of people, according to a poll by the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis, known as IVAD, between Aug. 8 and 16. The previous poll by IVAD in June had given the alliance 21% support. The number of people who said they intended to vote surged to 89% from 67.4%, with more than nine in 10 Venezuelans saying the elections are important in stabilizing the economy. JPMorgan Chase & Co. expects gross domestic product to contract 8% this year. (Bloomberg,


9 opposition candidates barred from Venezuela’s December ballot

In recent weeks the government has used administrative measures to rule that nine opposition politicians or activists were ineligible to hold office for at least a year, eliminating them as candidates in the coming election. With Venezuelans enduring long lines at grocery stores, ever-higher prices, violent crime and widespread corruption, voters may be ready to punish the government by giving the opposition a National Assembly majority for the first time since shortly after Hugo Chávez took office in 1999. That would alter the balance of power in a country where the ruling faction has a stranglehold on all facets of government, including the presidency, the legislature, the courts, the military and the electoral authorities. Most opposition parties have agreed to field a single slate of candidates under the Democratic Unity banner, which they have used in recent presidential elections and the last time the legislature came up for renewal, in 2010. Only about 40 of the opposition candidates for the 167 National Assembly seats were chosen through primaries, and it took weeks of often strained negotiations for the coalition to agree on a full list of candidates, in part because each party wanted to maximize the number from its ranks. So barring some candidates creates the potential for divisions within the coalition. The government has put up obstacles not only to its traditional opposition but also to a newly emerging opposition on the left. Electoral officials in May refused to allow a dissident group that broke off from Mr. Maduro’s United Socialist Party to register as a political party. The group, Socialist Tide, said it would run candidates on the slates of other small leftist parties. Nicmer Evans, a leader of Socialist Tide, criticized “the encumbrances and arbitrary actions” of electoral authorities and said, “We are fighting to overcome all of these attempts to exclude us politically.” (The New York Times,


OAS insists on sending observers to parliamentary elections, seeks to avoid conflict

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has repeated his offer for the organization to observe upcoming parliamentary elections here. He says "it is important to all Venezuelans for an organization like the OAS to guarantee results reliably and avoid any later conflicts...the levels of mistrust between the government and the opposition call for recognized guarantor....we seek that the next election in Venezuela should not have post election situations such as the two last ones, where many Venezuelans on both sides died". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Maduro says OAS should be shut down

President Nicolás Maduro says "neither the right or the left like the OAS" adding "the OAS must be shut down". He says OAS Secretary General Almagro has become "like (former Secretary General) Insulza". More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,


National Elections Council body rejects OAS "meddling"

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has published a communiqué rejecting the "interventionist remarks" made by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro. The Council noted that such statements "violated the principles and purposes" of the United Nations (UN), the international law, and Venezuela's Constitution.
The CNE added in the communiqué that Almagro had inherited the "longtime discredit and mistrust that organization fuels in free and independent nations", and charged that the OAS seeks "to replace Venezuelan legitimate and independent powers".
(El Universal,;


Venezuelan crime wave forces American expats to hunker down

The crime wave has taught Americans and other expats who are still braving it out in Venezuela to take all sorts of new precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones. Things that used to be a normal part of life in Venezuela — using public transportation or hitting the clubs at night — are now avoided by many foreign residents. The mood is grim as many expats feel their lives in Venezuela have become increasingly restricted by worsening security problems. (Fusion,


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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20, 2015

International Trade


New Housing Minister announces building material has arrived from China

General Manuel Quevedo, appointed this same week as the new Minister for Housing, has announced that steel rods, bathroom equipment, doors, electric scaffolding, window frames and other building materials have arrived at Puerto Cabello from China for government housing programs. More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


Maduro closes Colombia border crossing for 3 days

President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the closure of a major border crossing with Colombia after three soldiers were attacked while looking for smugglers. He the normally busy border in western Tachira state would remain closed for 72 hours. He also vowed to mount a special mission to boost protection for Venezuelans living along the 1,400 mile (2,200-kilometer) border, an area long plagued by violence stemming from Colombia's long-running conflict and the presence of drug-trafficking gangs. Maduro's announcement came hours after the attack of three army officers while they were carrying out patrols in the border town of San Antonio. Maduro said that the assailants, who haven't been identified, shot the officers — two lieutenants and a captain — from behind before fleeing on motorcycles. Maduro regularly blames smugglers and paramilitaries allegedly linked to former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for violence that has spilled over the border in recent years. As part of a government crackdown against the flow of contraband, the government this year has closed the border in Tachira at night, deployed more troops and toughened jail sentences for anyone caught smuggling. It's also rolled a fingerprint-scanning system to restrict the amount of any single product shoppers can buy. In total, the government says more than 6,000 people have been arrested for smuggling in the past year and more than 28,000 tons of food seized last year in anti-smuggling operations. Opponents say the restrictions are futile and blame price and currency controls for much of the criminality as goods purchased at ultra-low prices in Venezuela are resold for huge profits in Colombia. (New York Times,; More in Spanish: Diario 2001,; AVN;; El Universal,



Oil & Energy


Oil prices continue dropping further, WTI at US$ 40.71

Analysts expected US crude oil inventories to drop by 770,000 barrels, but instead they have grown. WTI oil prices are now at US$ 40.71 per barrel, a 4.48% drop since Tuesday. Brent, US$ 46.94, down 3.83%. More in Spanish: (El Universal;


India expects cash-strapped Venezuela to pay dues in oil

India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. is in discussions to take US$ 535 million worth of crude in lieu of cash for its share of sales from a Venezuelan oilfield. The company’s overseas unit, ONGC Videsh Ltd., owns 40% of the San Cristobal field and invested about US$ 190 million in the project in 2008. State-run Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA, holds the remaining stake. A deal to pay the Indian producer its share of revenue from the field in crude should be reached by March, according to Narendra Kumar Verma, the company’s managing director. Venezuela is already repaying loans outstanding to China with crude. Shipments to China will reach 390,000 barrels a day at an estimated average price of US$ 51 a barrel this year, up from 227,800 barrels at an average price of US$ 88.40 last year, according to Barclays analysts. (Bloomberg:


Venezuela gets new oil minister

President Nicolas Maduro has announced the current head of state oil giant PDVSA will take over as minister of oil and mining as well. Del Pino, a civilian who has led PDVSA since September 2014, is not the first to take on the dual ministerial role in the oil-dependent OPEC member state. Rafael Ramirez led the same two state oil bodies for a decade until he was named foreign minister and later UN ambassador. Maduro voiced concern about the continuing slide in crude prices, which have shed 27% since early June. Del Pino will take over the ministry from Asdrubal Chavez to allow the latter to run for parliament in December's key election. The outgoing Chavez, a cousin of the late ruler, was not a heavyweight in the oil sector and was generally seen as having more of a political role. Del Pino, however, is seen as a technocrat vying to turn around the socialist country's troubled oil sector. (Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,; Agence France Press:





Domestic detergent production is grinding to a halt

Detergent production for domestic use is grinding to a halt. One week after COLGATE PALMOLIVE announced it was stopping production for lack of packing materials, the POLAR powdered soap plant (Las Llaves) had to follow suit for want of sodium sulfate, which is an indispensable ingredient. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,; El Nacional;


2,600 General Motors Venezuela’s workers were sent home on forced vacations as its inventories of raw material for car assembly got to zero. In its Valencia plant, GM Venezuela has barely manufactured 4,400 units January through Friday, August 14, i.e. 15.71% of its 4,000 units a month installed capacity. (Veneconomy,


Bread prices in Caracas went up 40% (Bs.10) in one week in the case of the baguettes while other presentations went up Bs.10 to Bs.15. The daily 2001 explained the wheat flour imported by the government is being sold at US$ 800/ton, almost twice what it would have cost if the dollars had been authorized to the private sector when needed (US$ 450). (Veneconomy,


Workers at PEPSICOLA, POLAR, CARGILL and CLOVER warehouses located in La Yaguara asked the central government to repeal the expropriation and eviction measure on the properties. They rallied outside their places of work to ask the Housing and Habitat Ministry to find other vacant lots for housing building in the city. (Veneconomy,



Economy & Finance


Cash-strapped Venezuela may sell gold reserves, drive prices down further

Countries facing cash shortages may be tempted to sell part of their gold reserves to raise funds, according to CITIGROUP Inc., which cited Venezuela as a potential example amid concern it may default.  Gold retreated to a five-year low in July as the dollar rallied on prospects of higher U.S. interest rates. Should Venezuela sell part of its gold, prices could see lows maintained, says the report. Venezuela had 11.607 million ounces of gold as of September, according to data from the International Monetary Fund. About 68% of the country’s reserves are in bullion as of August, according to the CITIGROUP report. Venezuela “appears poised for a near-term crisis” amid protests and shortages of basic goods as the country heads for parliamentary elections in December, according to RBC Capital Markets Ltd. The cost of insuring the government’s five-year bonds has rebounded to near a 12-year high. In 2011 and 2012, Venezuela’s government repatriated most of bullion that it had held in overseas banks. The move was ordered by then-President Hugo Chavez as a safeguard against instability in financial markets. “The problem is most of the Venezuelan gold is located in Caracas,” said one analyst, “No bank is going to take collateral for gold that’s actually held in Caracas. (Bloomberg,


Uruguay's Senate approves deal to buy back debt with Venezuela at 38% discount


Central Bank of Venezuela publishes rules to centralize all official FOREX holdings

Venezuela has ordered all government banks and institutions to centralize FOREX holdings at the Central Bank, and has published the rules for the procedure. The financial service for special accounts, required to pay the obligations in foreign currency abroad, should be provided by the selected public agency and previously notified to the BCV. (El Universal,


Venezuelan business federation calls for economic consensus

The President of the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEDECÁMARAS), Francisco Martínez, is calling for urgent measures to oxygenate the economy; and alerts that those measures must not depend on the upcoming parliamentary vote to be held in December. He explained that if the government puts off actions aimed at improving the economy over fears for a given electoral outcome, it would be a serious mistake. Martínez commented that consensus was required among the public sector, workers, and businessmen to take the necessary steps and actions to recover the economy. (El Universal,


Venezuelan bonds averaged a percent point loss on Monday while the PDVSA’s bonds dropped 2.21% in average. The ones which experienced the sharpest drops were the PDVSA 2016 and the PDVSA 2021. (Veneconomy,



Politics and International Affairs


US again rejects Maduro accusations, Senator Rubio calls him a "corrupt clown"

US State Department spokesman John Kirby has said new charges by President Nicolás Maduro are false. Maduro has claimed an alleged opposition member was involved in murdering a women and pointed to a plot that would involve US legislators and a former US diplomatic official. We have seen press reports and the video of this criminal who made the charges and we say it is another baseless accusation against US officials", he said. US Senator Marco Rubio said Venezuela's President is a "corrupt clown", and added "Maduro once said Chavez visited him reincarnated as a bird, and it sounds as if he is having a similar episode". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Venezuela claims Guyana has "hidden agenda"

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez is warning Caribbean countries of an alleged attempt by the Guyanese government to create conflict among Latin American and Caribbean countries with the support of foreign agents. Rodríguez is on a tour of the Caribbean started last week along with Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza, to lobby for the "peace diplomacy" advanced by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in an effort to recover the Essequibo. She said: "We know Guyana has a hidden agenda which it is not telling the Caribbean about". (El Universal,; AVN,, and more in Spanish: El Nacional;


Political parties fine-tune details 

It’s only 80 days away from the parliamentary elections on December 6, and all political actors in Venezuela are fine-tuning the details for a vital election day that will help set the direction of the country. On the one hand, there are parties that remain committed to democracy all the way, as is the case of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD). The MUD, although suffering the full burden of illegal acts and arbitrariness by Venezuela’s ruling elite over the past 15 years, is drawing the constitutional path it will take from here until December 6, with the belief it has an advantage of 20% in popular support over the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Venezuelan opposition legislators seek support of MERCOSUR parliament

A delegation of Venezuela's opposition umbrella group United Democratic Round Table (MUD) legislators have presented their PARLASUR counterparts (Parliament of the Common Market of the South -MERCOSUR), with a copy of the draft bill for amnesty and political reconciliation in Venezuela proposed by the coalition, and are requesting their support. (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.