Venezuela central bank gives PDVSA an exchange-rate boost

jueves 25 de septiembre de 2014 13:49 GYT

CARACAS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will be allowed to sell dollars for local currency at the most advantageous of the country's three official exchange rates, the central bank said on Thursday, a move that could help ease the company's cash-flow problems.

PDVSA can now tap the Sicad II rate of around 50 bolivars per dollar when it sells to state development fund Fonden, removing a previous regulation that gave it access to that rate only when it sold dollars for oilfield investments.

That would help liquidity to the Sicad II market, according to economist Asdrubal Oliveros of local consultancy Ecoanalitica. The market was created this year to boost availability of hard currency for businesses.

The company has traditionally sold the lion's share of its earnings at a rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar, which often leaves it without sufficient cash to pay oil services companies or meet hefty social spending commitments.

A third exchange rate known as Sicad I offers dollars in periodic auctions that target specific sectors of the economy that seek greenbacks to pay for imports.

The new regulation says PDVSA can now sell at any of the three rates.

Currency controls were introduced over a decade ago by the late president Hugo Chavez to stem capital flight. But critics say they have burdened the economy and fueled corruption. (Reporting by Corina Pons; Editing by Peter Galloway)