October 15, 2008
CARACAS -- Venezuela's government is using a baseline average oil price of $60 a barrel to plan its budget for next year.
Government officials have said they plan to watch spending closely after the recent fall in oil prices -- now trading at about $75 a barrel.
Venezuela's state news agency quotes congressional finance chief Ricardo Sanguino as saying the budget will be calculated at an oil price of $60 a barrel. Tuesday's report puts the price 71 percent higher than the $35 estimate used in this year's budget.
President Hugo Chávez's government often low balls oil prices in its budget calculations to allow a margin for fluctuations and off-budget spending. Oil provides roughly half of government revenue.