PDVSA and partners sell about $75 mln/month at new Venezuela forex rate
* PDVSA says selling about $50 mln per month via Simadi exchange
* Joint ventures offering $25-30 mln per month via same system
* New buyer interested in PetroVietnam stake at Orinoco project
By Andrew Cawthorne
ORINOCO OIL BELT, Venezuela, April 19 (Reuters) - V enezuela's PDVSA is selling about $50 million a month at a new advantageous foreign exchange rate, while joint ventures with foreign partners are putting in a further $25-30 million a month via the Simadi system, the state oil company's head said.
The government created Simadi in February as a third tier in Venezuela's complex currency controls to allow importers and others to buy dollars at a higher cost in local currency than the other official rates of 6.3 and 12 bolivars per dollar.
But local businesses complain that even supply at Simadi, where the dollar is going for around 197 bolivars, is limited, thus crimping its impact on unblocking access to foreign currency that is hampering Venezuela's recession-hit economy.
The black market rate has actually risen since the launch of Simadi, jumping from around 190 per dollar in mid-February to 275 on Friday, according to a widely-tracked web site.
PDVSA, however, views the Simadi system as a breakthrough enabling it and foreign partners to obtain more local currency for each dollar they invest in Venezuela oil projects. Continuación...