Venezuelan oil price falls to $9.90, lowest level in 20 years

Caracas (AFP) –


The price of Venezuelan oil has fallen to its lowest level in more than two decades to just $9.90 a barrel, the oil ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said the price between Monday and Friday was 70.62 Chinese yuan, a level that has not been seen since 1998 when it was $9.28.

Since 2017, the government of President Nicolas Maduro has announced its oil prices in yuan rather than dollars in protest over US sanctions.

The weekly price has fallen through the floor during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year it averaged $56.70 and in 2018 it was $61.41.

Oil prices have been sliding since 2014 and exacerbating the country's ongoing economic crisis that has pushed almost five million Venezuelans to leave the country, according to UN figures.

Venezuela is almost entirely dependent on its oil revenues which account for around 96 percent of its income.

Venezuela's oil production has fallen to around a quarter of its 2008 level.

Maduro's government blames that on US sanctions, including against state oil company PDVSA, but many analysts say the regime has failed to invest in or maintain infrastructure.