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Exchanging currency in Venezuela is a nightmare

View of Venezuelan Bolivar notes in Caracas, on February 13, 2013

Exchanging currency in Venezuela is a nightmare. The official exchange rate is six bolivars to the U.S. dollar, but on the black market, the rate is around 80 to one dollar.

The bolivar is like a hot potato. Rice University professor Mark Jones says the average Venezuelan has no confidence in the currency and “tries to get rid of it as soon as possible, especially with inflation that approaching around fifty percent right now.”

The country introduces a new currency exchange system today that’s meant to bring the official rate closer to the black market exchange rate. That could be good for U.S. companies, which have been unable to convert and export profits made in Venezuela.

Wolfgang Koester is CEO of FiREapps, which helps corporations manage their foreign exchange. He says Venezuela’s new system will not in itself “help corporations yet. But if they continue down this path and free their currency up, that will be helpful for corporations.”

 

 

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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