Venezuela's president shuffles economic team

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Associated Press

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 11:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 1:03 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has reassigned members of his economic team but isn't announcing any major initiatives to slow overheated inflation or stop the bolivar currency's slide in the black market.

In his state of the union speech to Congress on Wednesday, Maduro said he wouldn't devalue the bolivar as economists insist he must. He said instead the government will strengthen an alternative foreign exchange mechanism to attract much-needed foreign investment to Latin America's biggest oil economy.

Maduro says Nelson Merentes will step down as finance minister and resume duties as president of the central bank, a post he held for four years. The state agency that administers the nation's supply of dollars will be disbanded and its duties absorbed by the newly created National Center of Commerce.

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