September 15, 2017 / 4:56 PM / a year ago

Venezuela publishes oil prices in Chinese currency for first time

CARACAS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Venezuela on Friday published the price of its oil and fuel in Chinese currency for the first time, following President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement that the government would ease off the U.S. dollar in response to sanctions by the United States.

Maduro last week said his government would shun the dollar after Washington blocked Americans from certain financial dealings with Venezuela on charges it is undermining democracy.

“As of the current week, the average price for Venezuelan (oil and fuel) will be listed in Chinese yuan,” said a footnote to the table of prices published each Friday by the Oil Ministry.

The global oil industry overwhelmingly uses the dollar for pricing of products.

Venezuela’s yuan-based prices appear to be the result of multiplying dollar prices by the dollar/yuan exchange rate .

The price for the week ending Friday was 306.26 yuan, equivalent to $46.76 based on the exchange rate listed in a footnote. That is up from the previous week’s price of 300.91 yuan, or $46.15 based on the corresponding exchange rate.

The ministry did not immediately respond to an email seeking additional details.

Venezuela’s Dicom currency system on Wednesday temporarily suspended the sale of dollars in order to incorporate other currencies.

Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez during his 14-year rule repeatedly vowed to back away from the dollar, which he said was being printed indiscriminately and was destined to lose its place as the world’s dominant currency.

But Venezuela remains dependent on the greenback given that it conducts ample commercial trade with the United States both through exports of oil and imports of U.S. food and consumer products.

Sanctions by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump blocked U.S. citizens from buying new debt from Venezuela or its state oil company, but did not directly interrupt import and export operations. (Reporting by Eyanir Chinea and Brian Ellsworth; editing by Grant McCool)

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