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Venezuelan Debt ‘Manageable’ at 32% of GDP, Merentes Says

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s national debt is “manageable” at about 32 percent of gross domestic product, said central bank President Nelson Merentes, adding there was no need to devalue the bolivar at the moment.

“In the short term and for this year, we don’t think we’ll decide to” devalue, Merentes said in an interview with Globovision today. “You can’t inform of those decisions in advance, anyway.”

Venezuela’s government will need to devalue the bolivar for the third time in as many years after October elections to help close a budget deficit swelled by President Hugo Chavez’s public spending plans, according to a survey of analysts. The government will weaken the official rate 31 percent to 6.2 per dollar in the first quarter of 2013, generating more revenue in local currency from each dollar of oil exports, according to the median estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg in July.

August inflation will be similar to July’s, placing the annual increase in prices at less than 19 percent, Merentes also said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jose Orozco in Caracas at jorozco8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Sanders in Santiago at psanders@bloomberg.net.

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