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Venezuelan banks issuing debit cards for dollar-denominated accounts, sources tell Reuters

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Corina Pons and Mayela Armas
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

CARACAS, Venezuela -- A group of Venezuelan banks has started issuing debit cards to clients who have accounts in hard currency, a move quietly backed by authorities who want to extend the use of dollars in routine transactions, sources familiar with the measure said.

For more than a year banks have stored cash dollars for corporate clients as part of an economic liberalization under socialist President Nicolas Maduro. For 15 years dollar transactions were under strict government control.

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State officials privately told banks to begin allowing clients with dollar accounts to use those funds to carry out transactions denominated in the local bolivar currency, said the four sources, who spoke on the condition that neither they nor their institutions would be identified.

The move will help improve liquidity and reduce barriers to commerce in an economy hobbled by sanctions, hyperinflation, and widespread shortages, but the sources said they were told that Maduro's government is not preparing a full dollarization. ...

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