World News

Venezuela 'new government' could get $10 billion in trade financing - Mnuchin

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attend the IMF and World Bank's 2019 Annual Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 13, 2019. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of finance ministers is working on a $10 billion package of trade finance that could be made available to help Venezuela out of its economic and humanitarian crisis once a new government is put in place, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday.

A group of 20 mostly Western finance ministers that met earlier this week in Washington is “going to be working on trying to put together a consortium of about $10 billion of trade finance that would be available for the new government to spark trade,” Mnuchin said in a press conference.

Venezuela is mired in a deep economic crisis marked by widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation, while millions have fled to neighbouring countries. Economic output has declined every year since 2014 and is expected to contract 25% in 2019.

More than 50 countries including the United States and Venezuela’s largest neighbours have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the South American nation’s leader.

Russia and others recognise Nicolas Maduro, the socialist president and successor to the late Hugo Chavez, as the legitimate head of state.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder and David Lawder; Writing by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Andrea Ricci