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Preview / WEEK OF JAN. 27-FEB. 2

Venezuelans Brace for Currency Controls

January 27, 2003|From Associated Press, Bloomberg News

Venezuelans awaited details of new currency controls while protesters continued to press for the ouster of President Hugo Chavez in a nearly two-month-long strike that has severely hampered the economy, although oil production was slowly increasing.

Chavez last week suspended foreign currency dealings through Tuesday and said he would announce new currency controls to halt the rush of nervous Venezuelans trading in their currency, the bolivar, for dollars.

Details about the new controls and even when they will be announced have not been revealed, but there are fears that the government will largely limit the availability of dollars to Chavez supporters while cutting off those taking part in the strike.

On Sunday, Chavez said his government might tax some foreign currency purchases in a bid to stem the outflow of capital.

The government is leaning toward setting a single fixed exchange rate, El Nacional reported over the weekend, citing unidentified government officials.

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