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, December 17, 2015

December 17, 2015

International Trade


Cargo that has arrived at Puerto Cabello:

  • 9,058 tons of steel parts from China for PDVSA
  • 1.944 tons of powdered milk
  • 360 tons of beef
  • 756 tons of black beans
  • 180 tons of refined oil
  • 252 of medicines from Brasil for state agency CASA
More in Spanish: (Notitarde;


Cargo that has arrived at Bolipuertos Maracaibo

  • 5,000 tons of wheat from Canada for CARGILL Venezuela
  • 30,000 tons of yellow corn
  • 41 containers of beef, pork, rice, pasta and long-lasting milk for state agency CASA
More in Spanish: (Bolipuertos,



Logistics & Transport


Dynamic Airways will open Maracaibo-Southern Florida route, as of December 18. This is the third route the air carrier has opened in its six months of operation. The other two are Caracas-Fort Lauderdale and Caracas-New York. (Veneconomy,



Oil & Energy


Maduro: Oil price hits US$ 29 per barrel

President Nicolas Maduro has that Venezuela’s oil price hit US$ 29 per barrel adding that funds for social programs or missions would remain unchanged. "I will repeat it a thousand times: there are now many people thinking twice about what they did on December 6," adding the Revolution secures welfare for the people.
He mentioned the four minimum wage raises he has decreed this year to defend the country from what he calls "economic warfare."
(El Universal,



Economy & Finance


NOMURA says “Venezuela has little chance of economic recovery

Japan’s NOMURA agency believes Venezuela has little chance of overcoming its economic crisis because US$ 13.5 billion are needed to cover this years’ deficit, and in addition the nation will receive US$ 12 billion less due to oil prices dropping down to around US$ 30 per barrel. Their report adds that if the regime were to decide to use up all of its’ gold reserves, that would only bring US$ 11 billion, which covers only 6 months financing. The big question, according to NOMURA is: “How quickly can the opposition work to eliminate economic distortions and correct macro-economic imbalances, before consolidating its power bases?” The report adds that if it is able to do so it can eventually go to work on the economic agenda. NOMURA says the next week weeks will be important to determine whether the opposition can resist Chavista opposition: “If there is progress on economic reports, there will then be quicker relief with slow reduction of dependence on imports through gradual increases in production”. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,


Venezuela´s gold reserves down 24% in value in Jan-Oct

Central Bank gold holdings declined in value by 24% between January and October, according to a bank statement released this week. The value of the country's monetary gold decreased to 69.9 billion bolivars in October from 91.4 billion bolivars in January, according to the statement. That means a reduction of US$ 3.4 billion, based on the strongest official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar, which the central bank uses to value these holdings. Reuters reported in March that the Central Bank was in talks with Wall Street banks for US$ 1.5 billion gold swap operation, a transaction that the bank did not confirm at the time. (Reuters,


Expert calls level of Venezuelan international reserves “worrisome

Tamara Herrera, director of the SINTESIS FINANCIERA economic consultant firm, has warned that in 2016 Venezuela will face "something more than the continuation of scarcity and woe the Venezuelan economy and population are going through." Her concerns are low oil prices and dwindling international reserves, since the current level of reserves available for imports and debt payments, "are lower than after the oil strike in 2002 (...) The current level looks modest; out of those US$ 14.5 billion, only US$ 2 billion are cash, immediately available reserves…The bulk of the reserve stands at US$ 11 billion in gold. Moreover, the government may withdraw US$ 1.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) without conditions," she explained. (El Universal,


Industrial activity has dropped 47% in Q3 2015

Juan Pablo Olalquiaga, President of the National Council of Industries (CONINDUSTRIA) reports industrial activity dropped down 47% during the third quarter of 2015, as compared to the same period in 2014. And adds that 2014 shrank down from 2013, and from 2012. “We have had a progressive drop in production and it became sharper this year”, he said; adding that FOREX availability is needed to bring in supplies and fuel the industrial system. More in Spanish: (El Nacional,


Venezuela down four spots in Human Development Index

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has published its 2015 Human Development Report, in which Venezuela (0.761 points) ranked 71 among 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking.
Despite this decline, Venezuela remains in the group of countries with a "high human development," below Latin American and Caribbean countries such as Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and Costa Rica.
(El Universal,



Politics and International Affairs


Opposition wants to free prisoners, push Maduro

After 16 years of rubber-stamp impotence, Venezuela’s opposition plans to use its overwhelming electoral victory to free political prisoners -- including its most charismatic leader -- and offer President Nicolas Maduro six months to take painful economic steps or face removal. Moving to take advantage of the two-thirds supermajority they won in congressional elections this month, opposition leaders say a top goal when they take office in January is removing fear from millions who depend on the socialist government for work or housing. In a first step, lawmakers say they want to give state-housing residents deeds to their apartments so that they won’t face political expulsion. “We’re going to legislate so that state policies stop being a mechanism of extortion and blackmail,” Jesus “Chuo” Torrealba, leader of the opposition alliance, said in an interview. “We don’t want beneficiaries of social missions to be able to be blackmailed by any government.” But Maduro said he will refuse to sign the opposition's first priority when the new legislature starts on Jan. 5: an amnesty law for jailed activists. (Bloomberg,; Reuters,


Outgoing National Assembly calls special meeting to appoint top court justices, opposition protests move

Fidel Vasquez, Secretary of the outgoing National Assembly, has announced a special meeting of the body to appoint a number of justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice where any conflict of powers will play out. Opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup, recently re-elected to the Assembly says the move is a flagrant violation of the Constitution and a “declaration of war”. (El Universal,; (Veneconomy,


Regime supporters seek to curtail opposition advantage

Venezuela's ruling “Socialists” have set up a grassroots assembly in the same building as the national legislature in a further effort to minimize impact of an opposition election win that has shaken the government. The outgoing National Assembly’s President, Captain Diosdado Cabello has set up the “National Communal Parliament,” which can rule itself according to the Communes Act. Constitutional expert Herman Escarra, a regime ally, claims no group, including this one, can replace the authority of the National Assembly. (Reuters,; Veneconomy,; El Universal,; and more in Spanish: Ultimas Noticias,


Maduro says probe underway on 1.5 million null votes in Dec. 6 elections

President Nicolas Maduro has announced that an inquiry is underway to probe the over 1.5 million null votes in the Dec. 6 parliamentary elections. "There are some null votes, almost 1,500,000, which are being investigated," he told his supporters. "For example, in one state of an electoral circuit, traditionally a Chavismo stronghold, one of our assembly women loses by 82 votes and there are 15,000 null votes...she is going to seek an in-depth probe into the matter, so that the truth is determined and constitutional corrective measures undertaken," he said. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; El Universal,


US prepares charges against top Venezuelan officials

U.S. Justice is filing a lawsuit against two top Venezuelan officials for allegedly receiving money from drug traffickers, says The New York Times. The two accused are Venezuelan National Guard head, Nestor Reverol, and Edilberto Molina, a former officer of the antidrug unit of Venezuela, both of whom will be charged soon in a federal court in Brooklyn.
The charges "will mark the latest in a series of charges by United States prosecutors against powerful Venezuelans who the prosecutors say have assumed a large role in the narcotics trade." Reverol's indictment is likely to be announced in December and will represent a high profile case that could involve the Venezuelan political elite, said The Times. (Latin American Herald Tribune,; Reuters,; Veneconomy, After 16 years of rubber-stamp impotence, Venezuela’s opposition plans to use its overwhelming electoral victory to free political prisoners -- including its most charismatic leader -- and offer President Nicolas Maduro six months to take painful economic )


New Venezuelan Defender General sworn in by outgoing National Assembly President

Captain Diosdado Cabello, incumbent Speaker of the National Assembly, has sworn in Virginia Susana Barreiros Rodríguez as the new Public Defender General and her alternates Ignacio Ramírez Romero and Carlos Alfredo Medina Rojas. The move was rejected by the opposition lawmakers, who left the assembly hall of the Federal Legislative Palace and then returned to their seats to address other issues during the regular meeting of the National Assembly.
According to Cabello, Barreiros "has shown courage to face all the pressures, including death threats." Reference was made to the 14-year jail sentence Barreiros rendered against opposition leader Leopoldo López, even though Cabello would not mention any names.
(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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