Venezuela to launch new foreign currency exchange system

CARACAS Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:22am EST

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CARACAS Jan 22 (Reuters) - Venezuela will reform its decade-old currency control system to create new rates for the price of U.S. dollars, the government said on Wednesday.

Rafael Ramirez, the oil minister and vice president for the economy, said the lowest official rate of 6.3 bolivars to the dollar would remain, but did not give details of the other intended bands.

"We're creating a system of bands in a new currency system," Ramirez told a news conference.

Local media have speculated that there will be a dual currency rate, with the second level based on the central bank's weekly Sicad currency auctions, where greenbacks currently fetch about 11 bolivars.

The government is trying to put the brakes on high inflation and bring down a black market rate for dollars that has shot up in recent months to more than 10 times the official 6.3 rate.

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