Venezuelan non-oil exports at the worst level since 1997
Export in the third quarter stood at USD 816 million
Venezuela's entry into the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) took place amidst the worst moment of the local industry. Dependence on oil revenues, higher imports, and small export capacity are just some of the aspects defining the country's current economy.
Data from the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) reveal that non-oil exports in the third quarter accounted for USD 816 million, 30% below the figure recorded during the same period in 2011.
In details, contraction in exports was reported at 33.33% and 26.7% in the public and private sectors, respectively. "Regarding the public sector, exports of iron, steel, and aluminum plummeted whereas chemicals increased. Likewise, private sales slumped, particularly those of gold, propylene, hydrogen peroxide, nickel, and ferrosilicon," the BCV explained.
Export in the third quarter of this year recorded the lowest level since 1997 when non-oil exports in the third quarter were reported at USD 1.3 billion, 67% above the figure recorded this year.
In 15 years, non-oil exports have been below USD 1 billion only twice, yet they were above the figure recorded in 2012. In 2010 exports amounted to USD 859 million and in 2009 at USD 951 million.
In this scenario the national Government is determined to export products to Mercosur's member countries. Last Friday, the foreign trade deputy minister held a meeting with companies from the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors to inquire into the possibility to export their goods to other markets.
"The truth is that we cannot export. Firstly, we must have an efficient system to obtain US dollars and raw materials," an entrepreneur who attended the meeting remarked.
Indeed, according to data recorded by the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria), 83% of entrepreneurs said that lack of raw materials was one of the principal obstacles to boost production.
Moreover, 73% of entrepreneurs agreed that limited supply of US dollars was also accountable for small production. Conindustria noted the BCV has taken from 130-150 days to supply US dollars this year.
Official figures express that the Government's measures to enhance production have ended in failure.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.