Maduro, Putin discuss ways to stabilize oil market
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met in Beijing Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss ways to stabilize oil prices, the government news agency AVN reported.
"President Putin and I have agreed on initiatives, to be made public when they are in full development, that will stabilize the oil market," Maduro said, according to AVN.
Both Maduro and Putin are in Beijing for ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II.
Maduro, who traveled to China following a stop in Vietnam in search of financial help "during difficult times," believes that the global economy is best served by oil prices "above $70 a barrel," the report said.
Currently oil is trading around $50 a barrel on world markets.
In Venezuela, as of last Friday when the official price was announced, it was selling at $36.48 per barrel.
Maduro traveled to Moscow in January as part of a tour in which he discussed plunging oil prices with oil-producing nations including Algeria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
At that meeting Maduro and Putin agreed to increase Russia's investment in the Orinoco oil belt, in southern Venezuela.
Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez (1998-2013) assigned large oil-rich areas in the region to companies belonging to allied countries such as Russia, China, Cuba and Belarus. These companies act as minority shareholders in operations run by the state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
Venezuela imports the vast majority of the basic goods it consumes with oil money, which accounts for 96 percent of its foreign currency.
But that cash has dried up as crude prices have slid by more than 50 percent since mid-2014.
With Venezuela's economy in recession, oil revenues plunging, crime soaring and consumers facing chronic shortages of basic goods, Maduro's approval rating has sunk in recent months.
© 2015 AFP