CARACAS Feb 4 Venezuela's central bank said on
Tuesday it had canceled this week's auction of $220 million in
U.S. currency after discovering anomalies among requests filed
by private companies wanting to take part.
The bank holds weekly U.S. dollar sales under its Sicad
system. This week's auction would have been the second since
11-year-old currency controls were revamped on Jan. 22.
The bank did not disclose what irregularities had taken
place, but said in a statement it canceled the auction due to "a
combination of anomalies and lack of compliance with the rules."
The Sicad auctions typically target specific sectors of the
economy. This week's sale had been offered to local companies in
the raw materials and pharmaceutical industries.
The reform of Venezuela's currency controls last month kept
a preferential rate of 6.3 bolivars to the dollar for essential
goods such as food and medicine, and doubled the number of
dollars offered at Sicad's higher rate of about 11.3 bolivars.
Critics predict the measures will simply spur inflation,
which hit 56.2 percent last year, the highest in the Americas.