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.


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