Foreign companies operating in Venezuela have to put up with no small amount of inconvenience. Aside from runaway inflation, which drives up operating costs, they also have to watch the money they make in the country depreciate because Venezuela’s tight capital controls mean they can’t easily repatriate it back home.
On Thursday, Movistar, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefónica and the second-largest mobile carrier in the country, discovered yet another risk associated with working in Venezuela: price controls. Continue reading »
Venezuela imports almost everything these days so retailers hoping to stock up before the year-end festivities – who will need hard, foreign currency to do so – are biting their nails as the government goes on fiddling with its controls on foreign exchange.
“We will have here all of the elements for Christmas, all of it will be guaranteed, ” said Rafael Ramírez, the oil minister who was appointed to head the cabinet’s economic team last week. He said regular weekly dollar auctions using a system known as Sicad would begin on October 16. Continue reading »
Cheer or cry? That’s the question some will be asking after Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro removed his pragmatic finance minister Nelson Merentes as vice-president responsible for the economy.
Oil minister Rafael Ramírez (pictured), who also acts as president of the state-run energy giant, PDVSA, will replace him. Continue reading »
Even after its facelift a few years ago, taking off from Maiquetia, Venezuela’s main international airport, is still often a chaotic experience, as long queues form for security reasons or through simple inefficiency.
Now travellers should brace themselves for worse. In his latest battle in an “economic war”, the government of president Nicolás Maduro said at the weekend it would use fingerprint scanners to clamp down on travel scams used to bypass Venezuela’s strict currency restrictions. Continue reading »
The revolving door at Venezuela’s oil sector continued to spin on Wednesday after Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil producer, said it was withdrawing from a multi-billion dollar oil project in the country’s heavy oil rich Orinoco basin.
The news comes just a month after Malaysia’s Petronas pulled out of another big project. Continue reading »
It was inevitable. Some 60 years ago began one of the largest migrations in history, when millions of people moved from the Latin American countryside and into cities. Then, some 10 years ago, began a consumer credit boom that saw car sales explode in the world’s most urbanised continent.
And today? To cope with the growing congestion of their megalopolises, Latin Americans are increasingly turning to bicycles to get around. Traffic jams are no longer a privilege of just the rich world. Continue reading »
Even after Venezuelan officials angrily denounced the US late Thursday for allegedly denying their president clearance to fly through its airspace on its way to China, Nicolás Maduro was still determined to get to Beijing this weekend.
With its economy in disarray, you can’t blame Caracas for wanting to cultivate closer ties with Beijing. Just this week, the country announced that it would partner with China National Petroleum (Sinopec) on a $14bn development project in the Orinoco heavy oil belt. Maduro will no doubt be hoping to secure more deals during his three-day visit to China – which kicks off on Saturday. Continue reading »
Venezuela’s economy is in such disarray that there is now a whopping 660 per cent difference between the official exchange rate and the black market one. As of Tuesday, greenbacks could be sold on the black market in some corners of Caracas for up to 48 bolívars per US dollar, compared with the official rate of 6.3.
To try and stop the bolívar’s plunge, Nelson Merentes, finance minister, said during a televised interview on Monday evening that the government would soon unveil yet another foreign-exchange system. Continue reading »
All in all, it’s been a summer of “no” for many Venezuelans. No chicken, no sugar, no toilet paper and now, no power.
Half of Venezuela was without power on Tuesday, including much of its capital, Caracas. Ironically, the blackout occurred just hours after the government claimed it managed to reduce the country’s chronic power outages by 75 per cent this year. Continue reading »
This appears to have been a kiss and make up week for Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro.
First, he married his long time “compañera”, former Attorney General, Cilia Flores. Then, he announced he will meet his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, for the first time since a diplomatic spat in late May threatened to derail relations between the two countries. Continue reading »
Some call it “the most complex exchange rate system in the world” – and with good reason.
In Venezuela, there is the official, fixed exchange rate, which for many Venezuelans is a mere fiction; there is the black market exchange rate, which is known as the “unmentionable” rate since it is a criminal offence to do so; and then there is the Sicad rate, a more recent invention that occupies a grey area somewhere in between. Continue reading »
The Venezuelan toilet paper shortage story says a lot about economic management in a country where the greenback fetches five times its official value on the parallel market.
While Venezuelans have struggled to get their hands on everything from loo roll to toothpaste, authorities have been in denial about the grinding liquidity crunch that makes ordinary life – and business life – a daily struggle.
But on Friday, for the first time since March, the Central Bank granted many businesses access to the coveted US dollar – offering up another $200m – via a revamped Sicad, a type of currency auction selling dollars for bolívares. Continue reading »
It seems not even touch screens and a Grammy winning artist can save BlackBerry from a sales slump. Oddly enough though, the Canadian smartphone maker doesn’t blame its losses on Samsung Galaxies or iPhones, but rather Venezuela’s financial turmoil. Continue reading »
In Nicolas Maduro’s latest attempt to mimic his peripatetic predecessor, Hugo Chavez, he is touring the “Old Continent”, stopping off in France on Wednesday after visits to Portugal and Italy earlier this week.
Obviously the former bus driver’s one-on-one with Pope Francis I was a highlight, but so was his announcement that he intends to buy “various” airplanes from Airbus. Continue reading »
Conveniently for Nicolas Maduro, whose fledgling presidency has been marred by nationwide shortages of loo paper (amongst a host of other things), someone is about to lend a helping hand.
Less conveniently for Venezuela’s new leader – and for the socialist, anti-imperialist discourse that he touts – that someone is a major US corporation, Kimberly-Clark, which is planning to invest $37m to expand its operations in the Bolivarian republic. Continue reading »