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, November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 5,418 tons of chicken from Brazil for state agency Corporación de Alimentos y Servicios Agrícolas (CASA)
  • 3,049 tons of pork from Brazil for CASA
  • 2,700 tons of powdered milk from Brazil for CASA
  • 103 tractors from Brazil for state agency Fondo para el Desarrollo Agrario Socialista (FONDAS)
  • 6,252 packages of steel structures (rollers and steel pipes) from China for state agency Corporación Socialista de Cemento (CSC)
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,; Ultimas Noticias,; Bolipuertos,; Notitarde,


Cargo that has arrived at Maracaibo:

  • 30,000 tons of wheat from México for CASA
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,


Imports from Argentina rose 1310.4% in 10 years, from US$ 141.8 million to around US$ 2 billion, according to the National Statistics Institute. The time period coincides with the Kirchner era in Argentina. Venezuela is now that among that nations' 5 key markets. More in Spanish: (El Nacional;


310 of domestic products have been exported from La Guaira port, including wood, plastics, cocoa, coal and recycled oil, according to a press release from the Aquatic and Air Transport Ministry. The release also says 109 containers of food, medicine and basic products were brought in from Colombia and Panama, including cooking oil, corn, wheat, rice, beans, toilet paper, soap and other basic needs. More in Spanish: (El Mundo,; Ultimas Noticias,



Oil & Energy


Venezuela sees crude in mid-US$ 20s if OPEC doesn't act

Oil prices may drop to as low as the mid-US$20s a barrel unless OPEC takes action to stabilize the market, SAYS Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino. Venezuela is urging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to adopt an “equilibrium price” that covers the cost of new investment in production capacity, Del Pino told reporters Sunday in Tehran. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are considering his country’s proposal for an equilibrium price at US$ 88 a barrel, he said. OPEC ministers plan to meet on Dec. 4 to assess the producer group’s output policy amid a global supply glut that has pushed down crude prices by 45% in the last 12 months. OPEC supplies about 40% of the world’s production and has exceeded its official output ceiling of 30 million barrels a day for 17 months as it defends its share of the market. “We cannot allow that the market continue controlling the price,” Del Pino said. “The principles of OPEC were to act on the price of the crude oil, and we need to go back to the principles of OPEC.” (Bloomberg,; Veneconomy,


Venezuela oil price crashes to lowest level since 2009

Venezuela's weekly oil basket crashed to a new low for 2015 as oil prices around the world declined on vastly oversupplied markets. 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 November 20 was US$ 34.46, down US$ 2.87 from the previous week's US$ 37.23. (Latin American Herald Tribune,


Maduro calls on GECF to set “fair prices, stable markets

President Nicolas Maduro has called on the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) meeting in Tehran to work to set “fair prices and stable markets” for gas. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,;; Veneconomy,


Fifteen to 20 tankers transporting millions of barrels of crude oil and by-products ordered by PDVSA have been anchored off the coasts of Aruba, Curacao and Paraguaná due to lack of payments of the state oil company. Some of those tankers have been anchored off shore for up to 45 days waiting for pending debt payments before docking in Venezuelan oil facilities. (Veneconomy,


PETROCARIBE is currently discussing its second commercial stage in which it will deepen integration via new financing mechanisms, as well as the incorporation of natural gas within the agreement, says PDVSA Chief Eulogio del Pino. Among other projects, he announced the implementation of a Caribbean Civic Protection System for those areas vulnerable to hurricanes. (Veneconomy,





Food production is down 65%

Venezuela’s private food industry will close 2015 as one of its worst performances ever, says economist Tomás Socías, who points out that on average 40% of the sector’s plants are idle because of the lack of dollars and supplies which has brought about a drop in production of around 60-65%. (Veneconomy,


Over 12,000 hectares taken from SMURFIT lie fallow

Over 12,000 hectares taken by the regime from SMURFIT in Portuguesa state "are not producing anything", according to Luis Serpa, president of the Forest Workers Union. Nationalization has done away with more than 1,000 jobs, and farmers still await the land titles they were promised. More in Spanish: (Ultima Hora Digital;



Economy & Finance


Poverty rose to 73% this year in Venezuela due to income reduction

Sociologist Luis Pedro Egaña has presented the results of the 2015 Living Stardards poll conducted by the Catholic University's Economic and Social Studies Institute, and says "we have broken all records on income poverty, today 73% of homes here, and 76% of Venezuelans are income poor". A joint study by Venezuela's Central University and Simón Bolivar University show an important increase in homes and individuals sunk in poverty since 2014, when levels were 48.4% in homes and 52.6% in individuals, which is a 24.6% increase in homes, and 23.4% for individuals. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,



Politics and International Affairs


Opposition rejects UNASUR sponsored agreement on election results

Jesús Torrealba, campaign chief for the United Venezuela coalition, has announced that the opposition here will not sign a document proposed by the UNASUR mission for accepting elections results: "We will not sign this document because it is not a new position, it is the same as the document the government the government ordered its PSUV party and the National Elections Council to sign. As we said at that time, we will give no one a blank check, we made a serious proposal when the regime's document was proposed and were ignored. UNASUR has made a proposal that is conveniently similar to that of the United Socialist party." More in Spanish. (El Nacional,


Argentina's Macri again pledges to invoke "democratic clause" on Venezuela, Uruguay to await elections

Venezuela's opposition has hailed conservative politician Mauricio Macri's presidential win in Argentina as a blow for leftists in Latin America as a good omen for their own duel with "Chavismo" in next month's parliamentary vote. Macri, 56, narrowly defeated ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli as voters punished outgoing President Cristina Fernandez over the economy and her leadership style. Macri is urging Venezuela's suspension from South American trade bloc MERCOSUR for alleged rights abuses by President Nicolas Maduro's government: "It is clear that the bloc's (democratic) clause should be invoked because the accusations are clear and without doubt, they are not made up," Macri says. Yet Uruguay's Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said that "conditions are still possible" in Venezuela to avoid the democratic clause and says the country is "far from an alteration of democratic order" and added "let us see how the December 6th election is resolved". The MERCOSUR summit is scheduled for December 21st.  Celebrating the Argentine elections, some Venezuelan opposition leaders noted pointedly how Scioli had graciously accepted defeat. "I hope Ms Lucena can see how elections are done!" wrote Henrique Capriles, who unsuccessfully claimed fraud after losing a 2013 presidential vote to Maduro, referring to Venezuela's election board head Tibisay Lucena. Venezuela's on-the-day electronic voting system is endorsed by international experts. But critics accuse the government of skewing the vote in advance by shuffling districts, naming voting centers after Chavez, and using state resources for publicity and transport. Jorge Rodriguez, head of the government's parliamentary election campaign, lauded Fernandez as Argentina's best-ever president and noted Macri's win was a tight one. "I didn't see Scioli call for violence or for the killing of Argentines. I think the Venezuelan right-wing should learn from that example," he added. (Reuters,;; El Universal, More in Spanish: El Universal,


...and Venezuela's opposition reports shots were fired at election campaign caravan

On Sunday the Venezuelan opposition reported shot were fired at one of its candidates' campaign caravan in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. Parliamentarian Miguel Pizarro, who is seeking re-election, said he and supporters were confronted by heavily-armed men who opened fire during a walkabout in Caracas' huge Petare slum. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles published photos, allegedly from the incident, showing men dressed in red with the logo of the ruling Socialist Party apparently carrying pistols and even what looked like a machine gun. (Yahoo:




Maduro vows to "radicalize the revolution" after legislative elections

President Nicolás Maduro has called on his followers to "defend" the fatherland in the elections "battle", and said the nation will decide if it continues "on the road to the 21st century" or if "everything ends". He said the regime would win the elections and that after winning he will "radicalize the revolution". More in Spanish: (Infolatam,


Venezuela's opposition smells a victory

By almost any objective measure, President Nicolas Maduro is heading for a fall. The country’s economy is a shambles. Some 89% of Venezuelans say the country is faring badly or horribly. And with the Dec. 6 legislative elections approaching, candidates for the ruling United Socialist Party are trailing by 25 to 30 percentage points, according to a batch of opinion polls. What that means for Venezuela as a whole is less clear. The country's opposition is a 27-party pastiche. That's one reason 30% of voters say they like neither the ruling party nor the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the main opposition bloc. But while there's little love lost for Maduro, 58% of Venezuelans still have a soft spot for his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. This paradox poses some special challenges for Venezuela's aspiring democrats. First, they must win a contest in which the rules are stacked against them: In 2010, opposition candidates captured more than half the popular vote but -- thanks to gerrymandering, rules-rigging and overrepresentation of pro-government rural regions -- ended up with around 40% of the seats in the National Assembly. This time may be different, however. Despite the lopsided playing field, challengers to Venezuela’s 16-year experiment in "21st-century socialism" have never been so close to gaining real power. Political analysts say their magic number is 18% -- the margin they need in order to win two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly and have enough to change Venezuela's constitution. But even a simple majority of 84 seats would give opposition lawmakers plenty of clout to push for a recall referendum next year, which could mark the beginning of the end of Maduro's hapless regime and, possibly, of Chavismo as well. (Bloomberg,


Venezuela’s dirty election approaches

Venezuela is spiraling through a historic crash. Foreign governments watching this implosion, and many Venezuelans, have been hoping that a Dec. 6 National Assembly election could provide the beginning of a way out. The question is not whether the election will be free and fair; it already has been established that it won’t be. What’s unclear is whether Maduro will resort to outright fraud or violence to prevent an opposition victory — and whether the United States and Venezuela’s neighbors, after years of silently tolerating the destruction of its democracy, will use their leverage to prevent that. Maduro is hinting at extraordinary measures; he’s said the regime will win “however” and talked of “governing with the people” if it does not. But given the public mood — the percentage of Venezuelans who assess the country’s situation positively has dropped into the single digits — such tactics could trigger mass unrest. More pressure should be applied to Maduro in the next two weeks, including by the Obama administration. If the vote is disrupted, the United States and other governments should be ready to respond with censure and sanctions. (The Washington Post,


Maduro has met with Vladimir Putin in Tehran

President Nicolás Maduro has met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin within the 3rd Meeting of Gas Exporting Nations in Tehran. Maduro has claimed the meeting was to coordinate the defense of oil prices due to a "maneuver by the US empire to depress oil prices". More in Spanish: (AVN;


Maduro strengthens ties with Iran

Iran's supreme leader Alí Jameneí and Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro have met in Tehran to reaffirm their alliance in fighting US "arrogance" and "imperialism", saying that "resistance" is the only road "to progress". More in Spanish: (El Universal,


Venezuela, UN hold second round of meetings on the Essequibo

President Nicolás Maduro held a second round of meetings in Caracas with a taskforce appointed by the United Nations Organization (UN) to raise the question of the border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo region, official news agency AVN reported. During the meeting, Maduro repeated "the necessity of activating the ‘good officer' as means to obtain political, economic and international channels that result in an acceptable and fair solution for both nations". (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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