CARACAS, July 26 Venezuela's central bank said
on Friday it would auction $180 million under its revamped
currency exchange system known as Sicad, part of an effort to
boost the flow of dollars to the economy and ease product
The third Sicad auction will provide $150 million to
businesses and $30 million for individuals, with the central
bank receiving orders on Monday and Tuesday.
Corporate participants will be restricted to companies
registered in the eastern Nueva Esparta state, home appliance
merchants in the western Falcon state, and firms involved in the
sale of school supplies, toys and computing equipment.
Individuals can buy up to $2,500 for foreign travel.
Sicad, which operates in parallel with a decade-long
currency control mechanism, will provide dollars at a weaker
rate than the official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars.
Government leaders insist Sicad will ease foreign exchange
bottlenecks, which private economists describe as one of the
reasons for a sharp growth slowdown during the first quarter.
Despite some initial private sector enthusiasm, business
leaders complain of unclear criteria for determining winners.
They say it does not ensure a consistent supply of currency
because companies do not know in advance if their industry will
be able to participate.