Here's the intro to a Barclay's report on Venezuela published yesterday (behind a paywall here):
During our recent trip to Venezuela, we met with officials from Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), PDVSA, the Ministry of Finance, pollsters, and some independent economic and political analysts. Our target was to ascertain what could happen in 2010 with respect to credit (issuances) and to try to establish the implications of devaluation, the electricity crisis, the health of the financial system, the elections to the National Assembly, and other factors on Venezuela's economy.
Some of the highlights were that the shortages of the electric sector could have a higher impact on growth next year than this year. But oil production will not be affected by the electricity shortage, in our view. Additionally, authorities tell us that the government and PDVSA are not planning to issue in the coming months; however, we are less optimistic about what we heard, and we expect at least USD3.0bn of new issuance in the second half of 2010.
On the political front, most people we spoke to are of the opinion that the opposition and Chavistas are equal in the polls and that the National Assembly election will be straighforward, compared with the presidential election in 2012. Considering the fundamentals of the economy, its unquestionable capacity to pay, the positive effect of currency devaluation over fiscal accounts, and PDVSA's financial situation, we maintain our overweight recommendation on Venezuelan assets. But given that Venezuelan assets have already increased by an average of 8pp since the first week of December and the rise in the risk aversion sentiment in the market, our recommendation is less enthusiastic now. Basically, we have changed our recommendation from buy, buy, buy, on December 4, 2009, to just buy.