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, September 29, 2015

September 29, 2015

International Trade


62,300 tons of basic foods have been imported, government imports do not meet Q4 demand

According to Port Authority reports, the Venezuelan government has imported around 62,300 tons of food during August and September, but this does not cover consumer needs for the last quarter of 2015. BOLIPUERTOS reports over 2,100 containers laden with beef, chicken, milk, cooking oil, butter, margarine, coffee, rice, wheat, white and yellow corn, plus 16,000 heads of cattle have arrived from Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Nicaragua, Colombia and Brazil, Yet Nutrition Minister General Carlos Osorio has reported that 11,484 tons were distributed in 1,202 open market operations nationwide last Saturday, which means imports can only supply 5.4 of such operations. Aquiles Hopkins, Vice President of FEDEAGRO, says rice imports can only supply 16% of consumer needs in Q4 2015. He adds that 65,640 tons of wheat were imported, but 77,000 tons per month are required to meet market demand. In addition, Venezuela used to export coffee, domestic production is down to 30% and the product cannot be found in stores. As to beef imports, they cover only 4.2% of normal monthly consumption. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


348 tons of parts for vehicles for FORD Venezuela have arrived at Puerto Cabello


Health Ministry reports 150 containers of medical and surgical supplies from China and Cuba, have arrived at the port of La Guaira. A total 500 million units are expected through the end of the year, to supply the public health system. More in Spanish:  (Agencia Venezolana de Noticias;; El Nacional;



Oil & Energy


Kuwait downplays OPEC meeting suggested by Venezuela

Kuwait's oil minister Ali al-Omair rejected the idea of a meeting between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC nations, as requested by Venezuela. Since independent producers have no obligation to drop their output, any such meeting would make no sense, the minister said. "The problem is that there is no commitment by non-OPEC countries on what to offer to stabilize prices. It (Venezuela) has requested OPEC members to reduce the output while others keep on pumping and then we lose our market share," he elaborated. (El Universal,


VenEconomy: A train of opportunities that the Bolivarian revolution missed 

Without a doubt, the handling of oil affairs in Venezuela will go down in history as one of the most notorious failures of the revolution of the so-called "socialism of the 21st century." It’s not only that state-owned oil company PDVSA has become inefficient, since a new management could have made it efficient again. Much more important is that the development of the Orinoco Belt is no longer profitable, as neither is gas production overseas. Major projects that are history today. There are no excuses for having let slip away a golden era in terms of high oil revenues, without taking advantage of those resources to promote the development and progress of Venezuela, to promote research and technology, while ensuring good healthcare, education and housing systems for all Venezuelans. Much less when those resources were squandered in a desire to impose in the country and extend across the region a political project that has proven obsolete and unsuccessful at global level, and to enrich a few national and regional elites supporting the said project. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


A "Regional Confederation of Oil Goods and Services” was created in Bogota to share experiences that help boost the oil sector. It is made up of the Venezuelan Oil Chamber, the Argentinean Chamber of Suppliers of the Oil-Energy Industry (CAPIPE), the Colombian Chamber of Oil Goods and Services (CAMPETROL), and the Mexican Association of Oil Service Companies (AMESPAC). (Veneconomy,





Closure of the Colombian border complicates production of detergents and medicines, claimed Fedecámaras’ Chief Francisco Martínez, who added they were resisting “the best they can” over the declaration of state of emergency in several districts. He explained the products that passed through the border earlier must now be transported either by sea or by air which increases operation costs and times. (Veneconomy,



Economy & Finance


BARCLAYS: Venezuela economic crisis to only get worse

Venezuela is suffering the deepest economic crisis in its history with output expected to contract 9.1 percent this year, Barclays wrote in a note to clients. The economic contraction will likely reach 16.5% between 2014 and 2016, while inflation over that period will exceed 1,000%. “It is impossible to understand why the government is not reacting to this reality, why it has not taken measures to alleviate the economic distortions that are destroying the real income of Venezuelans,” Barclays said. President Nicolas Maduro will not likely announce any changes in economic policy before congressional elections Dec. 6, the bank said. With support for the ruling Socialist party at around 19%, the country is politically divided as it also battles low prices for oil, which accounts for 95% government export revenue. “A weak president who will have lost an election in the middle of a very strong economic crisis will not be able to take any fiscal measures,” Barclays said. “The probability of a political transition in Venezuela seems to be much higher than what the market has been pricing.” Instead of taking fiscal measures, the government is selling all its liquid assets to maintain an “extremely inefficient” exchange rate system and pay the external debt, Barclays said, adding that it would likely have enough money to pay its foreign debt at least through the first quarter of next year with a moderate increase in oil prices and further cut in imports. “All the main political actors appear to be thinking only of the near term, and there is no clarity about what they will do after the elections, leaving a very uncertain scenario for 2016,” the bank said. (Bloomberg,


CREDIT SUISSE: Venezuela - The biggest loser

"Venezuela’s dreadful macroeconomic conditions are unlikely to improve following the legislative elections on 6 December, in our view. Venezuela has the worst outlook for economic activity, the highest projected inflation and the largest fiscal deficit in our Emerging Markets coverage universe in 2015 and 2016. Specifically, we now expect real GDP to contract 5.9% this year and 4.0% in 2016. We have also revised our inflation forecasts significantly higher to roughly 180% by year-end 2015 and nearly 215% by the end of next year. We do not expect the government address these massive distortions in a meaningful way before or after the upcoming elections. Meanwhile, lower oil prices and the ongoing depletion of the public sector’s foreign assets suggest substantial risk of default over the next 12 to 24 months, according to our estimates." (CREDIT SUISSE: Click here to view document (9 pages, 663KB))


General Marco Torres reports he met with investment bankers in New York

General Rodolfo Marco Torres, Venezuela's Vice President for Economic Affairs and Minister of Finance reports he met with investment bank representatives in New York and repeated the nation's commitment to honor international debt. He adds they were invited to invest in Venezuela's oil sector. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; El Mundo,


Venezuela PDVSA's US$5 billion loan from China only to be available by year-end

A US$5 billion loan that Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA negotiated with China will be available by year-end, but the funds will go directly to contractors rather than into company coffers, a senior PDVSA source told Reuters. President Nicolas Maduro announced the loan during a trip to Beijing in September, saying the funds would be put toward boosting oil production. "The money will begin flowing at the end of this year," said the source, who asked not to be identified. "(It) will be paid directly to the companies that execute the projects." (Reuters,


Harvard’s Hausmann calls Chinese loans to Venezuela a ‘disgrace’

The billions of dollars China loans to Venezuela in exchange for oil are a “disgrace” and used for corrupt purposes that go undisclosed to the general public, says Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann. Venezuela has tapped China for more than US$ 45 billion over the last decade and is increasingly reliant on the world’s second-biggest economy for cash because of its unwillingness to comply with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, Hausmann wrote. Those loans have become more important than ever as the nation’s international reserves tumbled with oil prices to a near 12-year low. “The Chinese have not required that Venezuela do anything to increase the likelihood that it regains creditworthiness,” wrote Hausmann, a former Venezuelan planning minister. “They merely demand more oil as collateral. Whatever the IMF’s faults,” China Development Bank “is a disgrace.” (Bloomberg,


BANCTRUST reports companies and individuals rely on credit to face inflation here

A report by BancTrust indicates private companies and individuals are using bank credits to meet inflation costs. It shows the massive explosion in monetary liquidity and high inflation have strongly impacted credit in the financial sector, specially use of credit cards. Official data confirms an 148.2% increase in commercial credit in August 2015, as compared to August 2014. Credits in agriculture rose by 102.1% at the same time. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Venezuela's Ambassador to Cuba advocates economic adjustment in Venezuela

Alí Rodríguez Araque, a former Chávez Minister of Finance and Petroleum and Venezuela's current to Cuba, says it is necessary to adjust and reorient the domestic economy in view of the plunge in oil prices. The expert maintains that the shrinking revenues "are fairly above 30%," which imposes economic adjustment right now. "Now, we have to make an adjustment downwards," Araque said. He suggested a cut in public spending and setting priorities in order. Rodríguez argues that "such rearrangement" of the local economy "must be made and this begins with the public budget, which is the first component of income distribution in Venezuela." "I think that further adjustments are coming," he added. "Let's forget that Venezuela will have a strong momentum in the field of industry and other sectors," he insisted. "Since 1936, we have had an overvalued bolivar. All the currencies in the world devalued at that time." (El Universal,


Planning Vice President claims 2016 budget will meet social goals

Ricardo Martínez, Vice President for Planning, claims Venezuela's draft 2016 budget anticipates allocating the necessary resources to maintain social investment in education, health, housing, transportation, roads, sports and recreation. He says despite lower resources, the key "is greater efficiency and greater experience" More in Spanish: (AVN;; El Universal,; El Mundo,



Politics and International Affairs


Guyana and Venezuela restore ambassadors despite border row

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon mediated a Sunday meeting in New York between Guyanese President David Granger and Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, who agreed to restore their respective ambassadors despite a continuing border dispute. After the meeting, Maduro said that Venezuela would restore its ambassador to Georgetown "immediately" and accept Guyana's nominee. He described his meeting with President Granger as "complex, tense, difficult". President Granger thanked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for mediating at the meeting, which he said "afforded both sides the opportunity to explain their individual positions". Granger denounced Venezuelan "aggressions" at the UN General Assembly, and asked the organization to reach a final solution to the border dispute: "We want to put an end to Venezuelan aggression. We want to develop our country, all of our country, under international law"..."We believe this process (good offices) has come to an end", but did not back off his announcement that Guyana will seek a solution with the International Court of Justice. Guyana Defense Force Commander Brig. Gen. Mark Phillips Guyana has 1,000 troops ready for deployment to border with Venezuela in case of aggression by Caracas amid the territorial dispute over Essequibo region and the Cuyuni River. (BBC News,; Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; Veneconomy,; El Universal,;; Latin American Herald Tribune,; and more in Spanish,


Venezuela to allow return of deported Colombians

Following a meeting between President Nicolas Maduro and UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper, Venezuela agreed to allow the deported Colombians back as long as they agreed to "legalize their status". Last week, Maduro and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, met in the Ecuadorean capital Quito and agreed on a "normalization of ties". However, the border has remained closed and President Maduro says it will take months to "create a border of peace". Since Venezuela declared a state of emergency in three border states, an estimated 22,000 Colombians have left the area on top of the 1,700 who were expelled. (BBC News,; Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,


IACHR denounces "humanitarian crisis" of Colombian deportees

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has denounced a "humanitarian crisis" hitting Colombian deportees and people who returned to Colombia from Venezuela. "The IACHR saw for itself the humanitarian crisis that is affecting the deportees and people who returned out of fear and because of the grave situation in which they found themselves in Venezuela," the IACHR said in a press release. "The IACHR received troubling reports about the way in which the deportations from Venezuela were carried out, suggesting that those individuals suffered multiple human rights violations and were subjected to collective expulsion," the IACHR reported. (El Universal,


Maduro calls for transformation of economic systems to spur development

President Nicolas Maduro has called for “a resounding transformation of economic systems” as a condition for the implementation of the United Nation’s new development agenda. He made his proposal in a speech to the UN General Assembly during the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


UNASUR readies observers for parliamentary elections here on December 6th

Wilfredo Penco, Vice President of Uruguay's National Elections Council says the observers group being organized by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will have 4 representatives from each of the election authorities in the 12 member nations. He says they await the signing of agreements between representatives of Venezuela's National Elections Council and the UNASUR pro tem presidency, which is Uruguay. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Grenades used against police checkpoints, opposition demands explanations

There have been five attacks with grenades against police checkpoints or stations in the last 48 hours. The most recent ones occurred on Sunday; first, in Las Mercedes where eight Baruta policemen and four civilians were wounded and then one against a police station in San Juan de Los Morros in Guárico. There was also a shoot-out against a National Police’s (PNB) patrol car in Sucre in Miranda state. Opposition leader and Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles has demanded an explanation from the Maduro regime: "There were 5 similar attacks that show us that violence in Venezuela is growing and that national security has escaped the national government's control....We hope this is not part of a political plan to injure the December 6th elections. He added: "One has to ask the Defense Minister why there are grenades on the street. Grenades should be under the exclusive control of the Armed Forces. This gentleman must explain why grenades are in the hands of individuals. General Padrino must explain to Venezuelans." (Veneconomy,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional,



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, September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 3,000 head of cattle and 500 containers with basic products from Brazil - including 197 vans carrying beef, 60 with whole powdered milk, 44 with margarine, and 213 bearing chicken, all for state agency CASA.
  • 2,100 taxi cars from China for the Land Transport Ministry and state agency SUVINCA
  • 29, 000 tons of rice  for state agency CASA


30,000 tons of soy beans from Argentina for manufacturing cooking oil have arrived at Maracaibo's port, for state agency CASA.  (Bolipuertos,



Logistics & Transport


International departure tax for Venezuelans is now Bs.5,100 (34 Tax Units), up 900%, according to a resolution from the Vargas state Tax Administration Superintendent’s Office (SATVAR, in Spanish). (Veneconomy,


While in Latin America, air travel increased 2-12% last year, in Venezuela it dropped 8.5%, according to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA). The IATA repeated its criticism of the measures taken by the Venezuelan regime which have hurt airlines and have made it impossible for Venezuelans to fly since the offer is scarce and the tickets are rather expensive. (Veneconomy,





P&G Venezuela announced it was increasing its current production capacity of dishwashing liquid four times fold, up 25% in detergent production. The production increase will begin in November, according to a company’s press release. (Veneconomy,



Economy & Finance



Goldman Sachs expects liquidity crunch to worsen in 2016

Under current expectations for oil prices, the liquidity crunch could worsen considerably in 2016 when we estimate a cash-flow deficit of US$ 18.4 billion. While we expect that additional contraction of domestic absorption could help to further reduce the current account deficit – from US$ 15.9 billion to US$ 13.2 billion – an inevitable reduction of extraordinary financing or the one-offs used this year would result in a noticeable increase in the external cash shortage. Policy inaction could further exacerbate the deterioration of domestic macroeconomic conditions. But at this moment, besides a forced devaluation of the preferential exchange rate in the post-electoral period, it is difficult to foresee a meaningful policy reaction to the more adverse economic backdrop. The fate of the credit would thus increasingly depend on additional financing from China and/or some type of liability management that postpones (or reduces) some short-term external debt payments. SEE ATTACHED REPORT.


Moody’s reports hyperinflation has begun here

Moody's agency has issued a report warning that Venezuela is undergoing "current inflation is a hyperinflationary event", adding that there is no official data on inflation through September 15th, but that unofficial projections indicate the current situation has resulted in a "serious crisis that can only be overcome through deep structural change". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Purchasing power has dropped 40% year to date

Henkel García, a director of the ECONOMETRIC think tank, says scarcity of food and basic products, plus high inflation have caused a drop of 40% in buying power in Venezuela year to date. More in Spanish:  (El Nacional;



Politics and International Affairs


Hounded by unpopularity, Maduro plays at war

Venezuela's ruler Nicolás Maduro speaks of peace but is decidedly on a war footing. Two days had not gone by after he pledged to lower tensions with Bogotá and he was already threatening to close down more border passes and calling out the specter of war with Guyana. The collapse of Venezuela's economy has left Maduro with only the drum of nationalism to revive the ashes of the now unpopular "bolivarian" revolution facing parliamentary elections in which the opposition carried a 30% lead. The crisis has been created by Maduro with two key goals: Distract public opinion and torpedo free exercise in border municipalities where he has declared a state of siege.  More in Spanish: (El Nuevo Herald:


Analyst claims border conflict has positive political connotations for regime

DATANALISIS President Luis Vicente León says it is convenient for the Venezuelan government to keep up the border crisis because it has "positive political connotations" for the regime. More in Spanish: (Noticiero Digital:


Guyana accuses Venezuela of 'aggressive behavior' near border area, is ready to mobilize troops

Guyana's President David Granger says Venezuela has launched an "extraordinary military deployment" in the east of the country, near a disputed border area. "We have noticed during the month of September an extraordinary escalation of Venezuelan military activity in eastern Venezuela," Granger said. "It is a persistence of aggressive behavior, hostile behavior towards Guyana," he said, adding the deployment was "mostly marine and various forms of ground forces." He did not provide further details. Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino had announced that the armed forces were conducting military exercises in both the east and west of the country. Chief of Guyana Defense Forces Mark Phillips says his country is ready to mobilize troops along the border with Venezuela, and reiterated allegations that significant and unusual military movements are taking place on the Venezuelan side. Phillips added that so far there has been no increase in the number of Guyanese troops deployed along the border with Venezuela, but it could happen in the event of any aggression against the territory of Guyana. (Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,;; El Universal,


Foreign Ministers of Venezuela, Colombia start meetings here

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodríguez and her Colombian counterpart María Ángela Holguín, began a meeting in the seat of the Venezuelan Foreign Office here, the first one of a number of meetings intended to get the border situation back to normal. Holguín attended with Colombia's ministers of Defense, Luis Carlos Villegas; Treasury and Finances, Mauricio Cárdenas; and Mines and Energy, Tomás González; the high military command; the president of the Colombian Petroleum Company, Juan Carlos Echeverry, and representatives of the National Administration of Taxes and Customs (DIAN). No announcements were made following the meeting. Prior to that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reported that in the meeting held in Quito, he told  his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro that he "broke the rules of the game" by not calling him in advance when he decided to shut down the border and to "violate the rights" of Colombians. (El Universal,;


Colombia's Gaviria may bring suit against Maduro

César Gaviria, Colombia's former President and former Secretary General of the Organization of American States, is meeting with that country's other former Presidents, Andrés Pastrana and Álvaro Uribe to analyze the border situation with Venezuela, and is considering bringing suit against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in international courts. Gaviria will also denounce potential fraud in upcoming parliamentary elections here, as well as constant violation of human rights in this country. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


31 former heads of state call for observers in Venezuela's parliamentary elections

31 democratic former heads of state from Spain and Latin America have again come together to denounce damage to democratic freedoms in Venezuela and call for "impartial and technically qualified international oversight by the UN, the OAS and the European Union" in parliamentary elections here December 6th. The group's  statement is signed by Eduardo Duhalde and Fernando de la Rúa (Argentina); Fernando H. Cardoso (Brazil); Jorge Quiroga (Bolivia); Sebastián Piñera, Ricardo Lagos and Eduardo Frei (Chile); Andrés Pastrana, Álvaro Uribe, Belisario Betancur and César Gaviria (Colombia); Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Rafael Ángel Calderón, Laura Chinchilla, Óscar Arias and Luis Alberto Monge (Costa Rica); Osvaldo Hurtado and Lucio Gutiérrez (Ecuador); Alfredo Cristiani and Armando Calderón Sol (El Salvador); Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox (México); Mireya Moscoso, Nicolás Ardito-Barletta and Ricardo Martinelli (Panamá); Juan Carlos Wasmosy (Paraguay); Alejandro Toledo (Perú); José María Aznar and Felipe González (Spain); and Luis Alberto Lacalle and Julio María Sanguinetti (Uruguay). Bolivia´s Quiroga asserted that "Brazil is a leader and must take a clear position" on this matter. Uruguay's Sanguinetti and Lacalle added that Venezuela is belligerent and lacks an independent system of justice; and Sanguinetti says if the upcoming election is "honest" it will make for a "very important change". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;; Infolatam:;


Leopoldo López' wife to bring case to UN General Assembly

Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López has announced she will attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York next week to present the case of her husband, who was sentenced to nearly 14 years of imprisonment, and also the situation of dissenters described as "political prisoners" by the Venezuelan opposition. (El Universal,


Machado charges that closing the border seeks total militarization

Maria Corina Machado has charged that President Nicolás Maduro's goal in calling for a new border is to have Venezuela end up "fenced in, incommunicated, humiliated and despoiled". "They do not want anyone to find out about abuse and outrages that are daily committed against citizens". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma’s preliminary hearing was deferred for the sixth time this Tuesday even though the Criminal Code establishes it must be done within 45 days from the day the defendant is arrested. Ledezma was arrested last February 19. The hearing is now scheduled for October 21. (Veneconomy,


Venezuela denies having funded Peru's Humala

The Venezuelan embassy in Peru denied Venezuela had funded the 2006 electoral campaign of incumbent president Ollanta Humala. According to a TV show, called "Cuarto Poder" (Fourth Power), the government of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez secretly funded Humala's campaign for president. An alleged witness reported transactions amounting to US$ 400,000, through Brazil's ODEBRECHT construction company. Peru's Attorney General Office is currently investigating Humala's wife for having received large amounts of money at the time. (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, September 22, 2015

September 22, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 140 containers of beef, milk and refined oil for state agency CASA
  • 150 containers with medication from Cuba, for state agencies CDI and SRI
  • 114 containers of auto parts and supplies - batteries, tires and shock absorber parts - for state agencies AGROPATRIA, PDVSA and UNOCAR
  • 926 bundles of steel mesh from the Dominican Republic for PDVSA's housing program
  • 692 tons of synthetic rubber from Goodyear Tire Rubber in the US for their Venezuelan affiliate
  • 204 tons of natural rubber in 10 vans from Guatemala, also for Goodyear Venezuela.
  • 70 tons of white rice in 3 containers from ALBA El Salvador


Venezuelan Port Authority reports 30,000 tons of yellow corn arrived at Maracaibo's port for 16 distributors, and 5,000 tons of fertilizers at La Ceiba in Western Venezuela for state agency PEQUIVEN. It also reports 3,000 heads of cattle from Brazil have arrived for state agency CASA into Guanta port, in Eastern Venezuela. More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,;


Uruguay to pay off discounted oil debt with produce

Uruguay has signed closed a deal to pay off its oil debt to PDVSA at a discount and by exporting to Venezuela 44,000 tons of powdered milk; 12,000 tons of cheese; 90,000 tons of rice; 80,000 tons of soy and 9,000 tons of chicken. The first shipment will depart in next week. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,


Bureaucratic hurdles prevent surge of exports

Ramon Goyo, president of the Venezuelan Exporters' Association (AVEX), says that without a diversified, cutting-edge economy with a long-term prospect, non-traditional exports will hardly rebound. Nor will decline heavy dependence on oil and rent-seeking that have developed in the domestic economy in all these years, as recognized by the government itself. (El Universal,



Oil & Energy


Venezuela oil price slips again

After bouncing up $6.50 in the first week of September, Venezuela's weekly oil basket price slipped for a second week as oil prices around the world continued falling on worries over a slowing China and a plentifully supplied market.

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 September 18 was US$ 40.79, down 29 cents from the previous week's US$ 41.08. (Latin American Herald Tribune,





Iron and steel industry needs 19 MM tons to cover costs, global prices down

Venezuela is part of the richest concentration of iron on planet, and holds high quality mineral in Guayana (south Venezuela). By 2014, proven reserves were 14.62 billion tons (MMT), estimated to be exploited for about 300 years. While the government's Iron and Steel Corporation of Venezuela has plans to produce 19 million tons of iron in the next years to cover costs and investments, the price per ton has dropped since 2010, from US$ 125.18 to US$ 44.10 in July 2015. Geological reserves have shrunk in the past years due to lack of new exploration plans, the financial crisis, foreign currency in short supply, poor availability of exploration drills and the priority to take marketable mineral to the plants. (El Universal,



Economy & Finance


Venezuela's Central Bank is illegally withholding its financial statements, faces Transparency suit

Venezuela's Central Bank has failed to publish its financial statements - as required by law - since March this year. Sources within the bank say it is on explicit orders from the government. Transparency Venezuela has brought suit against the bank for failing to do so. Some operations - such as swaps - have been made public through reports from the International Monetary Fund. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Arbitrator reinstates suspension of award to Exxon by Venezuela

A World Bank arbitration tribunal has reinstated a suspension of an order for Venezuela to pay US$ 1.6 billion to Exxon Mobil Corp in compensation for nationalization of oil facilities, pending a decision on the country's request to annul the award. The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) said on its web site that "following several communications from the parties, the ad hoc Committee issues a decision on the stay of enforcement of the award," without giving further details. In a statement announcing the stay of enforcement, the Venezuelan attorney-general's office added a decision on the annulment request was expected in 2016, and "the republic expects the award to be annulled." (Reuters,



Politics and International Affairs


Venezuela and Colombia agree to restore ambassadors and "progressively normalize the border"

Venezuela and Colombia have reached an agreement to solve the problems on their border, based on mutual respect and international law. Presidents Juan Manuel Santos and Nicolás Maduro met in Ecuador in a bid to ease tension that has paralyzed trade and movement along the sparsely populated 2,219 km (1,378 miles) border, five times the size of the one separating France and Germany. The meeting was brokered and attended by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, a close ally of Venezuela, and Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vazquez, the current rotating head of the 12-member Union of South American Nations. After the meeting, Correa read a joint statement by the two sides agreeing to the return of diplomatic delegations in both countries; an investigation into the situation of the Colombian-Venezuelan border; to "progressively normalize the border" and to hold ministerial meetings in Caracas about the border situation and immediate meetings of ministers to address sensitive issues for both countries. (The Washington Post:; El Universal,; Reuters,;


Venezuela says fighter jet crashes after entry of 'illicit' plane

A Venezuelan fighter jet crashed near the Colombian border, killing both pilots aboard, after an "illicit aircraft" likely linked to drug trafficking entered its airspace, the government here said. "An illicit aircraft entered via the northwestern region on its course to the south towards the border with Colombia, an area where mafias linked to narcotrafficking want to use our territory as a distribution platform for drugs produced in the neighboring country," Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said in a statement. A completely destroyed Russian-made Sukhoi-30 jet was located in the border state of Apure, Padrino added. President Nicolás Maduro subsequently announced he is purchasing 12 more Russian made Sukhoi aircraft. (Reuters,;


Venezuelan soldiers reported crossing border into Colombia

Inhabitants of the village of Majayura in the Colombian municipality of Maicao reported that troops of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard, or GNB, had crossed the border and entered the country. The commander of the Colombian army’s 1st Division, Gen. German Saavedra, said in a communiqué that the No. 10 Armored Group received “reports from the community that a group of approximately 15 members of the Bolivarian National Guard entered Colombian territory in the Montelara area, in the village of Majayura in Maicao municipality” of La Guajira province. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


UN: Some 20,000 Colombians have left Venezuela

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports as many as 19,686 Colombian immigrants have returned to their country voluntarily from Venezuela since the current border bilateral crisis started in August 19, while additional "1,608 people have been deported". The UN office pointed out that the number of Colombians who have returned could be higher than that mirrored in the official record, considering that the number of people that have come back to Colombia through informal border crossings remains unknown. (El Universal,


Opposition demands an end to state of siege in border states

The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Conference has demanded that - after Maduro's meeting with Colombia's Santos - the state of siege in 3 border states must be called off. In a statement it voices concern over the turn the border crisis has taken and asks both presidents for sanity and responsibility beyond "mean and personal" interests. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


...and on the Eastern front, Guyana vows to take the Essequibo case to The Hague

Guyanese President David Granger said his government will take to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the border dispute with Venezuela for the Essequibo. The Guyanese president said that next week, he will capitalize on his visit to the United Nations (UN), to request the UN General Assembly to settle the dispute at The Hague court instead of being analyzed by a mediator, as it has been so far. "We will resort to the Court. We are no more interested in a sterile process," he added. (El Universal,


VENECONOMY: The Truth about the Essequibo Region 

As it is a well-known fact – and there is plenty of evidence – Chávez, endorsed by his then-Foreign Minister, Nicolás Maduro, tacitly waived the rights of Venezuela in the Essequibo area by maintaining his complicit silence since he came to power in 1999 when Guyana started a territorial dispute with Venezuela.  A complicit silence maintained on purpose by Chávez with two clear goals in sight: 1) Make a concession to his mentor Fidel Castro, so that he could pay back the aid granted by Guyana to communist Cuba when it required refueling its aircraft during the so-called Operation Carlota, the military mission that kept Cuba in Angola from 1975 until 1991. 2) Look for the necessary votes to achieve his political ambitions across the region and guarantee the silence from CARICOM member countries in the UN and OAS before the democratic de-institutionalization in Venezuela. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Elections Council rejects OAS observers in elections...opposition insists on them

The 4 to 5 pro-regime majority within the National Elections Council has approved a plan for international "accompanists" to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections on December 6th, granting the key role to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), MERCOSUR and CELAC, as well as countries with which the Council has agreements for cooperation, such as Russia, India, Philippines, Mali and South Korea. The Council's chairperson, Tibisay Lucena,  said that since 2006 the institution has "put an end to electoral tourism...and politicians posing as elections specialists".  In doing so they implicitly turned down observers proposed by the Organization of American States (OAS). The opposition coalition - Democratic Unity Conference (MUD) continues to insist on observers from the OAS, the UN, and the European Union. MUD international spokesman Timoteo Zambrano says it is "unacceptable and incomprehensible" for the Council to exclude the OAS. Last June, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro offered to send a group of observers, and was rebuffed by President Nicolás Maduro, who said "Venezuela is not monitored, and will not be monitored by anyone. We will never accept it". More in Spanish: (El Universal,; El Nacional;; Infolatam,


Venezuela's opposition protests Lopez sentence, Spain's González calls it a "mockery"

Venezuela's opposition staged protests in the country's main cities on Saturday to decry the near 14-year jail sentence handed to politician Leopoldo Lopez and galvanize support for the December parliamentary elections they are forecast to win. Opposition activists rallied in Chacao, a Caracas district where Lopez was once mayor, to denounce what they consider a sham trial which Spain's former President Felipe González has called a "mockery". González held a press conference in Madrid along with Lilian Tintori, wife of the imprisoned leader, and said the sentence "is proof of the nature of tyranny" Venezuela is undergoing. At the same time, Michel Forst, the UN human rights reporter, spoke out for jailed mayor Antonio Ledezma and the opposition. Hundreds of activists chanted and waved flags, while some paraded around with a mannequin representing judge Susana Barreiros -- who sentenced Lopez -- holding a briefcase stuffed with fake dollars. (Reuters,; Latin American Herald Tribune,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional;


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.