Venezuela's international reserves drop USD 3.73 billion in 2012
Pdvsa's transfers to the National Development Fund (Fonden) have undermined the amount of US dollars available for the private sector
Statistics from the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) show that as of December 27, international reserves tumbled USD 3.73 billion in 2012 and stood at USD 26.15 billion.
Out of such amount, 85% is gold bars. Dollars in cash -technically known as liquid reserves, which the central bank has immediately available to pay imports and foreign debt, do not exceed USD 3 billion.
State-run oil firm Pdvsa deposits more than half of oil revenue in the National Development Fund (Fonden), a facility the Venezuelan government uses to afford investment projects. Consequently, international reserves dwindle despite high oil prices.
"Cocoa is to Venezuelans what wine is to the French," says Alejandro Prosperi, head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Cocoa, using this simile to express the paramount importance or the cocoa industry for the country. Often times heralded as "the best cocoa in the world," a passion for quality dating back to the sixteenth century has made Venezuelan cocoa growers to enjoy high prestige at international level and their product to be among the most sought-after in the world.