Venezuelan oppositon protests devaluation

BEIJING. February 24. KAZINFORM Venezuelan opposition protesters has taken to the streets of Caracas to demonstrate the government's currency devaluation.

They waved flags and posters, shouting out against the 32 percent devaluation of the bolivar. The measure was ordered personally by ailing President Hugo Chavez. The devaluation had been widely forecast by economists as a way of redressing distortions including a black market rate for dollars at four times the old official level of 4.3 bolivars, according to Xinhuanet.

Raising the rate to 6.3 bolivars will boost state finances by providing more local currency for each dollar of oil export revenue. But it also hikes prices for imports crucial to the oil-dependent economy, potentially fueling inflation, though the state will seek to brake that using price controls. Meanwhile, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro has spoken to government supporters, trying to assure them that Chavez remains fully in control.

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