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Venezuela devalues currency 32% against US dollar


Venezuela said Friday it is devaluing its currency by 32 percent against the dollar on the orders of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez, who is sees it as a way to boost economic growth.

The bolivar thus goes from 4.3 to 6.3 to the dollar. The move was announced at a press conference by Planning and Finance Minister Jorge Giordani.

He said the change will taken effect on Wednesday.

The goal is to "minimize expenditure and maximize results." One effect of a devaluation is to make exports cheaper and thus boost them.

Chavez is convalescing in Cuba, where he underwent a fourth round of cancer surgery on December 11.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who visited Chavez this week, said at the same press conference Friday that Chavez is concerned about the Venezuelan economy and called for a "major effort" to maintain its pace of growth.