Venezuelan state-owned companies quadruple their currency sales to the central bank

CARACAS, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Sales of foreign currency by Venezuela’s state-owned companies, including oil producer PDVSA, to the South American country’s central bank quadrupled in 2021, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Advisers to President Nicolas Maduro’s administration spoke with investors and bondholders from Europe and the United States on Wednesday about their countries’ economic potential in a call organized by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Venezuela, indicated two sources familiar with the matter.

Data discussed on the call included economic indicators and information showing that the flow of foreign currency to Venezuela’s central bank reached $3.39 billion in 2021, up from $743 million the previous year, according to the document.

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Part of the foreign currency was used to maintain the stability of the exchange rate between the bolivar and the dollar, as well as to cover government expenses.

The increase in foreign exchange sales to the monetary authority follows an increase in oil production and exports from PDVSA, despite US sanctions. Venezuela’s oil production reached 871,000 barrels per day in November, according to the same document.

Venezuela suspended payments to bondholders in 2017 when it offered debt talks. However, that plan was frozen by the unfolding crisis in the country, while sanctions prevented American citizens and businesses from dealing with Venezuelan officials.

Venezuela attempted a similar renegotiation in 2020 without success.

Neither the Venezuelan Ministry of Communication nor the Spanish Chamber of Commerce responded to requests for comment.

Advisors to Vice President Delcy Rodriguez reminded bondholders on the call of economic policy changes and discussed the possibility of injecting capital into sectors such as oil, mining, tourism and agriculture. . They also pointed out that Venezuela’s economic growth in the third quarter reached 7.6% last year, the sources said.

The country has struggled amid a long-lasting recession and high prices. In 2019, the government eased financial regulations to help businesses, which helped but was not enough to ensure a full recovery, analysts said.

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Reporting by Mayela Armas Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler

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