Take physic, pomp

You can tell it’s a quiet newsday when hacks start kicking Venezuela

So the news comes out that, unsurprisingly, the PdVSA dollars bonds issue that had more strings attached than Pinocchio fell flat. Bloomie does an fair job of summing up the need-to-know bits in this note.

But then the idiot hacks start chiming in and showing that their little knowledge really is a dangerous thing. Step forward Tyler Bridges, painfully anti-Chavista McClatchy hack and manic depressive, stuck in Caracas and yearning to be back in Lima. He picks up on the deal and uses it to wade into the whole subject of the Venezuelan Bolivar Fuerte (VEF) parallel exchange rate. Bridges dixit:

“The current situation can only mean bad news for the Chavez administration. It seems to show that Venezuelans have little faith in the country’s economy and in the bolivar.

“Any further weakening of the Bolivar will mean problems for Chavez.”

However, once again Tyler is talking bollocks. What Bridges doesn’t bother to give you are two rather basic and useful things:

1) The truth
2) Any context

Here’s a table showing how the main traded LatAm currencies and the VEF have performed against the US dollar in the last two months, the period before and after the PdVSA sale.

For those not into forex code, BRL= Brazilian Real, COP= Colombian Peso, VEF = Venezuelan Bolivar Fuerte, CLP= Chilean Peso, MXN= Mexican Peso, ARS= Argentine Peso, PEN= Peruvian Nuevo Sol

So in the period (and ignoring the one-day -0.7% downmove in the VEF that Tyler Bridges seems to think signifies the end of the freakin’ world) we have four currencies that have become stronger against the dollar (BRL, COP, VEF, CLP) and three currencies that have lost ground against the dollar (MXN, ARS, PEN).

I’m not here telling you that the VEF is some paragon of stability and investment value. It’s not. I’m just saying that all that guff directed at Venezuela should apply to nearly all the region if true context were taken. And as the VEF has beaten out a currency like the Peruvian Nuevo Sol by a wide 6.2% in the period, our pal Bridges should be more worried about his yearned-for Peruvian shores far more than the country he’s unduly whacking into once again.

Or put simply, he’s a dumbass.

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