January 22, 2015 / 1:36 AM / 3 years ago

Venezuela alters currency system but keeps three tiers

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro said he was modifying Venezuela's complex currency controls but would stick to a three-tier system with cheap dollars guaranteed for food and medicine imports at the existing strongest rate of 6.3 dollars.

Currently, Venezuela operates three rates - 6.3 for essential goods, and two rates via the central bank known as Sicad 1 and Sicad 2 which offer limited amounts of dollars for around 12 and 50 bolivars respectively.

Maduro said Sicad 1 and Sicad 2 would be merged, though he did not say what the new rate would be.

A third mechanism would be created to offer dollars via private brokers, he said, without giving details.

Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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