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Venezuela shuffles economic team, keeps forex rate

Venezuelan President Maduro addresses lawmakers during the annual state of the nation in CaracasBy Eyanir Chinea and Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro named an army general as the new finance minister in a reshuffle of his economic team on Wednesday and said there would be no currency devaluation this year despite a soaring black market for dollars. Most economists say a devaluation is long overdue to rectify distortions in Venezuela’s economy, including illegal trading of greenbacks at 10 times the official rate. Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver who has stayed loyal to his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s socialist policies, said the economy was his No. 1 priority and again blamed capitalist foes for an economic “war” against him. He vowed that foreign exchange mechanisms would change, with state currency board Cadivi to be absorbed by another body.

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