CARACAS Feb 24 Venezuela on Monday eased
restrictions on the purchase and sale of hard currency, paving
the way for a new foreign exchange platform meant to boost
businesses' access to dollars under an 11-year-old currency
The reform of the Currency Crimes Law allows businesses and
individuals to participate in currency transactions, lifting
previous restrictions that required all such operations to be
carried out by the central bank.
This will allow for the creation of a currency exchange
mechanism based on bond swaps, known locally as "permuta."
That market cannot begin operations until the government
publishes additional foreign exchange regulations.
The new market, known as "Sicad 2," will hold currency
auctions every day. That will add a third exchange rate to the
currency control mechanism, which now sells dollars at 6.3
bolivars for preferential goods and at 11.7 for other items.
Venezuela's bolivar black market rate is approaching 90 to
The country's bonds, which have strengthened on recent news
of the new market, rose as much as 4 percent on Monday.