CARACAS Feb 11 Venezuelan President Nicolas
Maduro on Tuesday said his government in the coming hours would
reform currency exchange regulations to allow for a new foreign
exchange platform under the OPEC nation's currency controls.
The long-awaited currency system, which economists see as a
way to improve the corruption-ridden exchange control mechanism,
would serve as a complement to the foreign exchange auction
system known as Sicad, Maduro said.
"We are going to open a new system, Sicad 2, with the reform
of the Exchange Crimes Law," Maduro said in a televised
broadcast. "(The reform) is almost ready. In the coming hours,
we should be putting it out. This will allow more supply of
dollars from sources other than the state."
He did not offer details on how the law would change.
The 2010 Exchange Crimes Law gave the central bank exclusive
rights over the purchase and sale of hard currency, preventing a
legal market based foreign exchange system from existing.
Venezuela's vice president for the economy last week said
authorities this month would create a "permuta" or "swap" system
that allows for the purchase of hard currency through a platform
that swaps local bonds for Venezuelan dollar-denominated bonds.
That news pushed the OPEC nation's global bonds up between 6
and 9 percent on Monday. Bondholders believe the creation of
such a system would improve government finances and boost
capacity to pay debts.
Venezuela currently maintains a two-tiered exchange system
that provides dollars at 6.3 bolivars for priority goods such as
food and medicine and another of around 11.3 for other types of
But delays in the currency control system have left
greenbacks fetching nearly 80 bolivars on the black market,
opening ample opportunities for corruption by those who obtain
dollars on the cheap and quickly flip them for a profit.