Venezuela has bottomed out – the only way forward is up

In case you aren’t following the dramatic events in Venezuela, there is a Currency Crisis, as evidenced by Bloomberg’s café con leche index (something Bloomberg specifically created in order to track inflation in Venezuela) currently running at 25 bolivars, which would equal 89,186% annualized inflation.

 

The only way is up for Venezuela after the dramatic events of the past week, an emerging markets expert has said.  Annual inflation topped 60,000 percent this weekend and could reach a million per cent by the end of the year as the country battles a downward-spiraling economy.

 

Last Thursday, a toilet roll cost 2,600,000 bolivars, meaning the toilet paper is worth more than the actual currency itself.   But according to Patrick Mahony, an Oil and Emerging Markets expert, the country has begun to turn a corner and now the only way is up.   “The current crisis is an opportunity for speeding up the pace of reform,” he said. 

 

“It will be a long and hard road to recovery and there are many political obstacles on the way, but a number of factors have now come together to indicate that this troubled nation and its oil industry, is beginning to see the route back. The President’s position has been strengthened by the assault on the sovereignty of his country with this drone attack and now the pace of reform needs to pick up to seize the moment as a turning point.”

 

With improvements in the production of oil and offers of further loans and credit from China change could be in the offing for Venezuela. The country has oil reserves that rival those of Saudi Arabia and a political system that has been kept afloat in the past by the revenues from these vast resources.

 

According to Mahony oil may allow President Maduro a route out of the current crisis if he can capitalize on the partial recovery in output.  Venezuela’s production has been declining since 1997 when it was producing 3.2 million barrels of oil per day.

 

Production was steady 2002 to 2015, but fell back down to 1.6 million barrels per day in January 2017 and down to 1.3 million barrels in June.   It has now begun to increase, back up to 1.5 million barrels a day and rising.  Mahony believes this gives grounds for optimism.   “If Chinese aid arrives then a recent recovery in oil production could be built upon”, he said.

 

“Many experts predict that Venezuela will hit its OPEC quota this year and with oil prices staying in the $70-$80 a barrel range, this will only help the country.   “The other positive factors are the promise of a $5b loan from China, which should carry the economy through to the end of the year.”