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International reserves hit $29 billion

President Hugo Chávez characterized the surge in international currency reserves, which hit $29 billion, as positive.

“International reserves reached 29 billion dollars despite the current price of oil,” said President Chávez on Wednesday during a Ministerial Council meeting in which he noted that the price of oil appears to be strengthening.

This recovery of prices is due to measures taken by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, such as Russia, that have cut production.

“At the least, we have reduced price volatility, and there is a band between 40 and 50 dollars [per barrel of oil].  We are moving away from the catastrophic scenario projected early this year if prices had fallen under twenty dollars.  We stopped the slide and there is slow price sustainability,” President Chávez added.

The President indicated that the rise in reserves contradicts those that questioned the country’s recovery, who claimed that “Venezuelan reserves would be under $20 billion.”

Contrary to those claims, reserves are rebounding despite the fall in oil prices and despite the fact that the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) transferred $12 billion to the National Development Fund (Fonden) at the beginning of the year.  That money is being used for investment in development and public works.

President Chávez also welcomed the designation of Nelson Merentes as the President of the BCV, whom he said would work jointly “with the institutions of the Bolivarian government.”

Chávez characterized the designation of Merentes to the BCV as important:  “Unfortunately, a great Venezuelan has left us and that was Gastón Parra Luzardo, who died while serving in the post and led the transition of the BCV, an institution that is aligning itself with the country’s development policies.”

Radio Nacional de Venezuela (RNV), Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / April 30, 2009

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