BEIJING, July 5 (Reuters) -
* A senior official of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Venezuela’s finance minister held discussions in Beijing on Wednesday about oil-related cooperation between the two countries.
* NDRC Vice-Chairman Ning Jizhe and Simon Zerpa “exchanged opinions” over China’s loans to Venezuela and cooperation in the oil sector between the two nations, the NDRC statement said on Thursday, without giving further details
* Earlier in the week, Venezuela said it will receive $250 million from the China Development Bank to boost oil production. The South American country previously accepted a $5 billion loan from China, which became Venezuela’s principal financier over the last decade, but has recently cooled on Venezuela amid its economic meltdown and sharply declining oil production.
* Over a decade, China plowed more than $50 billion into Venezuela’s coffers through oil-for-loan agreements that helped Beijing secure energy supplies for its fast-growing economy, while bolstering an anti-Washington ally in Latin America.
* Oil production in OPEC member Venezuela has plunged to a nearly 30-year trough, pulled down by under-investment, theft, a brain drain, and lack of equipment, helping push up global oil prices and piling misery on the recession-hit economy. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)