CARACAS, April 3 Venezuela may move toward an
open currency market after more than a decade of exchange
controls, a legislator with the ruling Socialist Party said in
an interview published on Thursday.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro last month opened
a new currency platform meant to boost access to dollars amid
product shortages and import bottlenecks that have stymied the
OPEC nation's economic growth.
"The trend in the medium and long term could be that we have
an open market for currency without the application of an
exchange rate anchor," said legislator Ricardo Sanguino in an
interview published in local newspaper El Mundo Economia y
Negocios. He did not elaborate.
A finance ministry official said the minister was not
available to comment on the issue.
The new Sicad 2 currency market has created a third official
exchange rate under the currency control regime, which was
created by Hugo Chavez in 2003 and is often seen as the
cornerstone of the late president's state-led economic model.
The government sells dollars at 6.3 bolivars for
preferential goods such as food and medicine, at about 11 for
other goods, and at close to 50 under the Sicad 2 system, while
the black market rate is now around 66.
Business leaders complain Sicad lacks transparency and worry
it will not provide a steady source of hard currency.
The announcement of its launch led to a strengthening of the
bolivar on the black market, but it weakened again after
Maduro's government has promised to make the exchange
controls more flexible but has also said it plans to maintain
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth Editing by Girish Gupta and Lisa