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Venezuela International Reserves Rise Most in Three Months

Venezuela’s international reserves held at the central bank rose the most in three months yesterday after a presidential decree published Feb. 28 allows state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to transfer part of a windfall tax to the bank.

Reserves rose $834 million yesterday to $27.69 billion, the largest single-day gain since Dec. 30, according to data published today on the central bank’s website.

PDVSA, as the Caracas-based company is known, now has the option to sell a portion of the windfall tax in dollars received from oil firms operating in Venezuela to the central bank in return for bolivars. Previously, PDVSA transferred all of the resources to the national development fund known as Fonden in dollars.

“We’re receiving more dollars this year from oil revenue that used to go directly and exclusively to Fonden,” Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters Feb. 28. “Now, we are going to sell more foreign currency to the central bank, which is good for economic equilibrium.”

Venezuelan international reserves may rise $5 billion this year as a result of the change to the windfall tax structure and high oil prices, according to Asdrubal Oliveros, director of Caracas-based consulting and research firm Ecoanalitica.

Ramirez, who is also president of PDVSA, said the oil company is ready to transfer half of the oil windfall tax payments to the central bank in order to provide Fonden with bolivars.

Venezuela, which depends on oil for 95 percent of export revenue, saw the price of its crude export basket surge 7 percent in February to $114.59 a barrel, the highest since August 2008.

Central bank reserves have fallen 7.4 percent this year.

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