Venezuela’s Economic Problems Continue to Accumulate

Reuters says that Venezuelan state agencies have run up close to $1 billion in debts with shipping firms due to delays in returning containers. The debt has been racked up over the last six years, during which time state agencies have played an increasing role in importing goods, especially food. Meanwhile, an international arbitration center has ordered Venezuela to pay the British cattle company Vestey Group nearly $100m for the nationalization of cattle ranches by Hugo Chavez in 2005.

US oil services firm Halliburton Co has decided to begin curtailing activity in Venezuela. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Schlumberger announced a similar decision as a result of payment difficulties from state-owned oil company PDVSA. Venezuela's largest private company Empresas Polar said on Thursday it would halt beer production in just over a week because it is unable to import raw materials, due to strict foreign currency controls.