Venezuela's Maduro announces new minimum wage, exchange rate tied to petro cryptocurrency

Venezuela's Maduro announces new minimum wage, exchange rate tied to petro cryptocurrency
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced the plan to tie the national currency's exchange rate to the state-launched cryptocurrency petro. The country's new and increase minimum wage will also be anchored to the petro.

Maduro said the petro would be valued at $60 or 3,600 sovereign bolivars after the redenomination planned for August 20 slashes five zeroes off the national currency. The minimum wage will be set at half that, 1,800 sovereign bolivars.

"They've dollarized our prices. I am petrolizing salaries and petrolizing prices," Maduro said in a Friday televised address. "We are going to convert the petro into the reference that pegs the entire economy's movements."

Maduro said he intends to create a unified exchange rate across the country. The new petro-to-dollar-to-bolivar rate would bring the official price of one US dollar to six million (or 60 post-redenomination), which is about the same as the current black market exchange rate and about 25 times worse than the official rate.

Earlier, Maduro said that starting on August 20 the petro would be considered a national monetary and accounting unit along with the bolivar, and serve as reference point for all transactions with the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Venezuela's economy is in shambles, with hyperinflation heading for 1,000,000 percent by end of year, according to the IMF, and thousands of people fleeing poverty to nearby countries. Over the past year, the US has imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on Venezuela’s finances and debt issuance, aiming to drive 'dictator' Maduro out of power. The US remains Venezuela's top oil importer, however, and Washington has been reluctant to apply any direct penalties to the country's oil industry.

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