Venezuela to sell oil in currencies other than dollar

Will or won't OPEC cut oil production? The jury's out (AFP Photo/JUAN BARRETO)
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Caracas (AFP) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Friday his government will sell oil and other commodities in currencies other than the dollar, in a bid to weather US-imposed sanctions on the embattled country.

"I have decided to start selling oil, gas, gold and all other products that Venezuela sells with new currencies, including the Chinese yuan, the Japanese yen, the Russian ruble, the Indian rupee among others," he said during a television broadcast.

"A economy free from the US imperialist system is possible."

Washington's tough new sanctions on Caracas bar US banks from trading in new bonds issued by the government or the state run oil company PDVSA. The goal is to restrict Venezuela's access to vital bond and equity markets.

The aim is to "deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule," the White House said.

Maduro railed that they amounted to a financial and economic blockade, as ratings agency Fitch downgraded Venezuela and warned default was now likelier.

The country has to make $3.8 billion in debt payments in October and November, while its foreign currency reserves have sunk under $10 billion.

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