China says United States should bear consequences of Venezuela sanctions

Crude Oil

Opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president last week and has urged citizens to challenge Mr Maduro with walkouts on Wednesday.

Guaido said Venezuela's constitution gave him the authority to assume the presidency on a temporary basis and call elections, alleging that Maduro took office for a second term that he won in elections widely considered illegitimate.

Guaido is now petitioning the Bank of England to prevent Mr Maduro getting his hands on $1.3 billion (£1 billion) in gold held in London vaults.

Russia, which like China has loaned and invested billions of dollars in OPEC member Venezuela, called on Guaido to drop his demand for a snap election and instead accept mediation.

Bloomberg's source did not specify the ultimate destination for all of those gold bars, but they certainly will not be going to the Bank of England, which last week heeded the advice of US officials and denied Maduro's request to withdraw $1.2 billion of the Venezuelan gold it has been holding.

Vice President Mike Pence also met Tuesday with a new Venezuelan envoy appointed by Guaido, Carlos Alfredo Vecchio. USA officials will continue to coordinate with Guaido's team about the creation of a specific plan in the upcoming days to meet the country's humanitarian needs, Mark Green's spokesman said, cited by Reuters.

But Russia has been reticent about committing more capital, especially because opposition officials have said they might not honour all the Maduro government's obligations.

"They are very close in their criticism of what they see as the propensity of the United States and Europe to intervene and bring about regime change", Facon said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he is willing to negotiate with the country's opposition.

The United States and several other countries have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate head of state and denounced Maduro as a usurper. More than 3 million Venezuelans have fled, causing consternation across the continent.

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January 23 because the US recognized Guaido.

"41 percent of Venezuela's exports are destined for the USA market, so that any disruption is likely to cause a supply issue and cause the price of oil to spike and by extension, the price of petroleum products to go up in the United States", Everistus Jn Marie told St Lucia Times.

Lavrov also made reference to news reports of an embarrassing error made by Trump administration national security adviser John Bolton, who flashed a notepad with the words "5,000 troops to Colombia" scrolled across the top in front of reporters.

With strongman President Nicolas Maduro losing control of the country's already-scant finances and reserves thanks to USA sanctions, who can put his hands on the nation's estimated 200 tonnes of gold at home and overseas has become a key question.

The Russian gas giant now resells approximately 225,000 barrels per day of Venezuelan oil - about 13 percent of the nation's total exports, according to the PDVSA trade reports.

"We are facing problems to continue storing Merey crude", a PDVSA source said, referring to the most common crude grade it exports.

International Brent crude oil futures rose over 2 percent on Tuesday in reaction. Refineries in China and India are the only ones that can process Venezuelan crude outside the U.S., Eurasia Group analyst Risa Grais-Targow wrote in a note.

They also limit USA dollar transactions with PDVSA, but do not specify if US fuel can still be exported to Venezuela.

As of Wednesday, Venezuela had 25 tankers with almost 18 million barrels of crude - representing about two weeks of the country's production - either waiting to load or expecting authorization to set sail.

Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights, a Singapore-based provider of oil markets macro-analysis said: "The situation in Venezuela could evolve into a bull case for oil".

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