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, October 1, 2015

October 01, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello

  • 30,000 tons of yellow corn, from Argentina for state agency CASA
  • 1,070 head of cattle from Brazil for government nutrition programs
  • 3,500 metric tons of iron rods from Costa Rica, for government housing programs
(Bolipuertos,;; Ultimas Noticias,;; El Universal,; Notitarde,; Agencia Venezolana de Noticias;


Cargo that has arrived at Bolipuertos Maracaibo

  • 16,500 tons of plaster from Spain for Cementos Catatumbo
  • 8,000 tons of corn for PROTINAL
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,; El Universal,; El Mundo,



Oil & Energy


Táchira Governor claims 60 million liters of gasoline were prevented from being smuggled in Táchira

Táchira State Governor, Lieutenant José Gregorio Vielma Mora, claims that since the implementation of the Colombia-Venezuela border shutdown and the enforcement of a state of emergency decree in the border municipalities of Táchira state 35 days ago, 60,800,000 liters of gasoline have been prevented from being smuggled across the border. He explained that 7,293 liters of gasoline had been seized. Also 3,806,670 million bolivars (VEB) and 12,932 Colombian pesos have been seized. (El Universal,



Economy & Finance


Finance Minister promises to reveal official economic data, honor debt

During a meeting with investment bankers in New York, Venezuela's Vice President for Economic Affairs and Finance Minister, General Rodolfo Marco Torres, responded to complaints about the lack of reliable information by promising to publish official economic data held within the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank here. The meeting was organized by DEUTSCHE Bank, and attended by PIMCO, ALLIANCE, GSAM, FINTECH, JP MORGAN INV MGMT, DISCOVERY, FIDELITY, TCW, WELLINGTON, BLACKROCK, NWI and STONE HARBOR, according to General Marco. The official is reported to have told the group that government entities own about a quarter of the nation’s total debt stock, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. He declined to provide details on which bonds the government has been buying. He also said that the government, which has about US$ 5 billion in bond payments due in the last three months of this year and about US$ 10 billion due in 2016, is weighing liability-management proposals, said the people, who asked not to be named because the meeting was private. (Bloomberg,; and more in Spanish: Ultimas Noticias,; El Universal,; AVN;; El Mundo,; El Nacional;


Venezuela revises 2014 data to show economy shrank 4%

Venezuela's government has revised its economic data for 2014, showing that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined 4% in the worst performance around Latin America, according to a filing n the United States. The government has given no GDP data for 2015, to the anger of opponents and consternation of economists. In its filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Maduro government said the OPEC nation's petroleum sector expanded 0.3% last year, whereas the non-petroleum sector decreased 3.8%. (Reuters,


Bolivar falls past 800 per dollar on black market

Venezuela’s bolivar passed the physiological barrier of 800 bolivars per dollar Tuesday in black market trading as Venezuelans rushed to protect savings amid rising inflation. That means that the country’s biggest currency note of 100 bolivars is now worth about 12 U.S. cents. The currency has declined 14.7% in the past month to 816 bolivars per dollar. The government maintains official rates of 6.3, 13.5 and about 200 bolivars per dollar for authorized purchases of items deemed essential. Venezuela’s inflation, estimated by some to be nearing 200%, is the fastest in the world as President Nicolas Maduro’s administration prints more currency to pay budget expenses as the falling price of oil reduces foreign currency income. The amount of bolivars in circulation passed 3 trillion for the first time on Sept. 19, up 97% in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. (Bloomberg,; Veneconomy,


The contrarian Venezuela bond trade that's delivering 37% return

Want to make money in Venezuela’s bond market? Ignore the conventional wisdom. STONE HARBOR Investment Partners LP has done just that. The New York-based money manager has been buying up the country’s soon-to-mature notes as a bet the struggling oil-producing nation will scrounge up enough cash to continue making payments in the short-term. The move has paid off, with bonds maturing next month from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company returning 37% since the end of 2014. On average emerging-market bonds lost 0.5% this year. (Bloomberg,


AT&T may take $1.1 billion charge on DirecTV’s Venezuela assets

A change in exchange rates could wipe as much as US$ 1.1 billion off the value of AT&T's newly acquired DirecTV assets in Venezuela, the company said in an SEC filing. AT&T said in the filing it is evaluating whether to use a less preferential Venezuela currency exchange rate to value more than US$ 1.1 billion in DirecTV assets in that South American country. "If AT&T changes to the SIMADI exchange rate, it will have a negative impact on reported revenues, operating income and the fair value of our investment in the Venezuelan subsidiary," the company said in the SEC filing on Friday. (CNBC,



Politics and International Affairs


Maduro hints at possible violence in December 6th parliamentary vote in UN speech

During his address before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Nicolás Maduro asked the international community to "be on the alert for any attempts at igniting violence against the political life" of Venezuela, in the upcoming parliament vote next December 6. "Venezuela is willing to pursue its path through participatory democracy, through a Constitution passed by our people in 1999, through the way of peace," Maduro added. (El Universal,; Veneconomy,


Colombia's Santos has suggested that Maduro set López free

During a CNN Español interview, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, revealed that he told his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro he felt  badly about the imprisonment of Leopoldo López and suggested the best thing would be to set him free. Santos said that despite ideological differences he has a "pragmatic" relationship with Venezuela on behalf of the Colombian people, but that when Maduro started to blame Colombia for "domestic reasons", "I said to him: Hold it there, your problems are made in Venezuela, not in Colombia." He said he offered to help Maduro but that the Venezuelan president did not receive advice. "He believes he is going to win the elections. We wish him the best because it is a difficult situation". Maduro had previously said that he and Santos, have together charted out “a route to resolve provocations, threats and attacks by paramilitary and drug-traffickers against Venezuela.” (Latin American Herald Tribune,; and more in Spanish: El Nacional;


Maduro's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez has blasted Inter American Human Rights Court, for "political and ideological partisanship" on the issue of Colombian border refugees. She said the Court is "vulgar and immoral...once again these bureaucrats, overstepping their duties and jurisdiction, are showing their anti-Venezuelan and anti-Bolivarian feelings". More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


Crashed Venezuelan Air Force aircraft was escorting FARC leader

Colombia's RCN Television revealed that a Venezuelan Air Force SUKHOI-30 that crashed on the border between the two nations was escorting the leader of the FARC guerrillas, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias “Timochenko“, en route to Cuba aboard a Beechcraft 1900 owned by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA. The PDVSA aircraft took off from a landing strip in Apure state, near the Colombian border, on a property owned by Guarico State Governor former Navy Captain Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, who was also on board with "Timochenko". The PDVSA aircraft and another escorting SUKHOI then flew to the Manuel Ríos Air Force Base in Guárico state. They initially thought the fallen jet has been downed by a missile. "Timochenko" travelled to Havana one week later to meet with the Colombian government peace delegation. More in Spanish: (Infolatam,


Border dispute with Guyana drags on

A recent deal between Venezuela and Guyana will not resolve the two countries' border issues. On Sept. 27, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Guyanese President David Granger met in New York at a reunion hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. The two heads of state reached an agreement on Guyana's next ambassadorial nominee to Venezuela, Marilyn Cheryl Miles, who Caracas has refused to accept thus far in light of the Guyanese government's efforts to seek an International Court of Justice ruling that would award it territory to which Venezuela also lays claim. During the meeting, Maduro also expressed his desire to continue dialogue on the territorial issue in the hope of negotiating a resolution. Despite these seemingly positive steps, Venezuela and Guyana are unlikely to solve their border dispute in the coming months. The spat provides a useful platform for the Venezuelan government's domestic propaganda, and Guyana has no intention of changing its plans to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice. Therefore, further flare-ups in political rhetoric on the issue will be likely in the next few months, particularly ahead of Venezuela's crucial legislative elections in December. (Stratfor,


At U.N., Guyana blasts Venezuela over century-old border spat

Guyana used the United Nations as a forum to blast Venezuela, accusing it of "intimidation and aggression" related to a border dispute two days after the countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties. In his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Guyana's president David Granger accused his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, of cross-border bullying. "There has been a series of acts of aggression by presidents of Venezuela against my country," Granger said, citing actions dating from 1968 to "President Nicolas Maduro's decree of May 2015." The decree created a theoretical "defense" zone offshore that would, in Venezuela's eyes, leave Guyana with no direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. Granger said Venezuela, "mindful of its superior wealth and military strength and unmindful of its obligation as a member state of the United Nations ... has pursued a path of intimidation and aggression." (Reuters,


Maduro met bilaterally with Greece's Alexis Tsipras and Palestine's Mahmud Abbas during his visit to the UN in New York. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias,; AVN;



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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