Venezuela clinches US$5bn China loan

Bnamericas Published: Monday, April 20, 2015
Venezuela clinches US$5bn China loan

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says his government is close to securing additional loans after signing a US$5bn financing deal with China on Sunday.

The oil-rich country is in the grip of Latin America's worst recession, with runaway inflation and severe shortages of basic goods.

"We have just received US$5bn of financing for development," Maduro said on state television. "We're working on other tranches, I will be informing you when they arrive."

A sharp drop in global oil prices since June has strangled Venezuela's main revenue source. According to oil producers' cartel OPEC, crude accounts for about 95% of the country's export earnings.

Maduro provided no further details of future financing agreements.

Venezuela already has about US$20bn of outstanding loans from China, according to consultancy Eurasia Group.

A report earlier this year by Investment bank JP Morgan said Venezuela had received US$56.3bn from China since 2007 – about 47% of the Asian nation's loans to the region over the period.

Empty supermarket shelves reflect Venezuela's economic problems ( CREDIT: AFP)

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