Bank of America Venezuela Guru Francisco Rodriguez Leaving Bank

  • Rodriguez is well known for coverage of Venezuela's economy
  • Rodriguez says he left bank to pursue other opportunities

Francisco Rodriguez, the Bank of America Corp. analyst who investors relied on for insights into Venezuela’s finances amid a dearth of official data, left his job as the bank’s top economist for the Andes region. 

A Venezuelan national, Rodriguez frequently wrote research notes on the South American country’s economy and led investment trips to Caracas and elsewhere in the region. As Venezuela’s government reduced the availability of official data under President Nicolas Maduro and concern mounted the country was headed for default, Rodriguez became well known for his statistical series that tracked everything from inflation to imports.

Rodriguez, who was based in New York, confirmed his departure from the bank and declined to say what his next job would be. “It’s not something I’m willing to disclose right now,” Rodriguez said in a telephone interview. 

Melissa Anchan, a spokeswoman for the bank, didn’t immediately return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

Rodriguez studied economics at the Universidad Catolica de Andres Bello in Caracas in the early 1990s before earning his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1998. He served as an economist in Venezuela’s National Assembly from 2000 to 2004, and joined the bank in 2011.

Before announcing his departure on Wednesday, Rodriguez published a research note on Venezuela’s currency controls in which he argued that both the government and opposition recognized the need to unify the multiple foreign-exchange rates used in the country. On Tuesday, he wrote about Venezuela’s declining oil production and the possible impact it could have its ability to pay back bondholders.

Venezuela, whose foreign reserves reached a 13-year low of $12.6 billion last week, will see its economy shrink 8 percent this year while inflation will soar to almost 500 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. Trading in credit-default swaps show investors pricing in a 66 percent chance the country will default within a year.