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, 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.

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