Citigroup Inc plans to sell several tons of gold placed as collateral by Venezuela’s central bank on a US$ 1.6 billion loan after the deadline for repurchasing them expired this month, sources said Reuters, a setback for President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to hold onto the country’s fast-shrinking reserves.
Venezuela which is sitting on one of the world’s largest crude oil reserves but which is suffering the worst loss of oil production in history outside of war-induced outages is getting ready to share macroeconomic data with the International Monetary Fund to avoid penalties including possible exclusion from the IMF.
Venezuela’s consumer inflation, already the world’s highest, will more than double this year surging to 720% in 2016 from 275% last year, according to a note published by the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Director, Alejandro Werner.
Bank of America predicted president Nicolas Maduro would merge Venezuela’s three-tier currency controls into two, replacing the strongest rate of 6.3 bolivars to the dollar with a level of 35. Greenbacks go for around 865 bolivars on the black market.
Venezuela central bank gold holdings declined in value by 19% between January and May, according to its financial statements, likely reflecting gold swap operations and lower bullion prices. The country has been struggling with stagflation due to low oil prices and a collapsing state-led economic model, holds a considerable portion of its monetary reserves in gold.
Venezuela's vice president for economic policy announced Tuesday that the government will inaugurate this week a three-tiered exchange-rate regime which includes a “totally free” market open to both individuals and companies.
President Nicolás Maduro has sent clear messages to the Venezuelan central bank arguing that following the 'economic war' he declared on big business and hoarding with the mandatory cuts in prices, November should register 5% deflation and not inflation.
Venezuela's annual inflation slowed for a seventh straight month in July, coming in below 20% for the first time in years. Finance Minister Jorge Giordani said annual inflation to July was 19.4% percent, below the 20 to 22% estimated in the government's budget for this year.
Inflation in Venezuela during last year reached 27.6%, which is 0.7 percentage points more than in 2010, according to a preliminary report from Venezuela’s central bank. President Nelson Merentes said that the consumer prices index “was associated to the upwards pressure generated on wholesale prices by a greater dynamism from domestic aggregate demand”.
Venezuela’s second quarter (2Q) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 2.5%, below the expectations of the Government and below the first quarter GDP’s 4.8% rate, probably indicating that the Government’s effort to prop the economy via fiscal spending is losing steam.