Venezuela set Wednesday at $ 60 the initial value of Petro, the virtual currency launched by the government of Nicolas Maduro to address its problem of lack of liquidity.
A presale of 38.4 million units, out of a total of 100 million, will take place from February 20 to March 19, according to the white paper presented by the Minister of Science and Technology Hugbel Roa and the central bank.
The same document fixes the “reference selling price” of Petro at $ 60, a value equivalent to that of a barrel of Venezuelan oil in mid-January. This currency will be backed by Venezuelan black gold reserves, the largest in the world.
Petro will then be “subject to variations, depending on fluctuations in the oil market,” the minister said.
This virtual currency will “break the financial blockade” after the US financial sanctions, according to Hugbel Roa. Washington prohibits its citizens and businesses from buying bonds from Venezuela and its state oil group PDVSA.
Venezuela, troubled by the fall in the price of oil from which it draws 96% of its currency, is forced to restructure an external debt estimated at about $ 150 billion by some experts.
The country and its oil company PDVSA are already considered to be partially in default by several rating agencies. The population suffers from severe shortages of food and medicine because of lack of money to import them.