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Venezuela president says seeking financing to offset oil fall
[CARACAS] Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday evening he was seeking financing to counter a dramatic fall in oil prices that have hurt the cash-strapped OPEC country but did not provide further details.
"We're looking for resources," he said during a speech to unveil a plan to combat the "economic war" he blames Venezuela's recession and shortages on. "We're dedicated, 24 hours a day every day, to looking.... so that the country can function," added Maduro, who visited a flurry of countries including China during a nearly two-week tour earlier this month.
With oil prices down by more than half since mid-2014, Venezuela's economic mess has hit Maduro's popularity hard and hiked pressure on the government to find fresh funds amid a recession and shortages of basic goods.
Last week he said he was shaking up complex currency controls and also prepared Venezuelans for a rise in the world's cheapest fuel prices. Details have been scarce and economists panned lack of major structural changes.
Venezuela's oil export basket closed at US$38.50 per barrel on Tuesday, Maduro added. That is down from an average of US$88.42 in 2014.