Venezuela's Maduro says securing financing from Qatari banks
By Alexandra Ulmer and Corina Pons
CARACAS Jan 12 (Reuters) - Venezuela is securing financing from Qatari banks, President Nicolas Maduro said from Doha on Monday, as he seeks to boost his country's coffers amid falling oil prices and a recession.
"We're firming up a financial alliance with important banks in Qatar, that are giving us sufficient oxygen to cover the fall in oil revenue," Maduro said without providing details.
"We're raising financing for several billion dollars, not only for 2015, but also for 2016," he added in comments to journalists.
Venezuela's tightening financial situation has fanned market anxiety about a default, especially as oil slumps to near six-year lows. Maduro has vowed to pay bondholders and most economists doubt a default is coming in the near-term, but investors are getting skittish as the economic crisis worsens.
Venezuela depends on oil for 96 percent of its export revenue.
Credit Suisse estimates Venezuela faces a foreign exchange financing gap of some $33.9 billion should its oil basket average $50 this year. The basket dropped to $42.44 per barrel last week.
Maduro, whose popularity has plunged because of the economic crisis, toured China and oil-producing countries this week, apparently to seek financing and shore up support for action on oil prices by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
His push, however, has failed to convince OPEC's Gulf members to cut output, delegates said on Monday.
And while Maduro announced $20 billion in Chinese investment, he did not mention new loans from Beijing to help ease a worsening shortages of basic goods ranging from toilet paper to chicken.
"Maduro will therefore return to Venezuela mid-week with little concrete to show from his trip, as shortages of basic goods continue to bite amid worsening economic conditions," Teneo Intelligence said in a note. (Writing by Alexandra Ulmer. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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