Venezuelan government overhauls currency controls to fund oil investment, combat black market

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Venezuela is overhauling decade-old currency controls to benefit its struggling oil industry and arrest the decline of the bolivar on the black market.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez says the government's nine-month-old U.S. dollar auction system will be expanded next year to provide a more favorable exchange rate to oil companies, tourists and the central bank's gold purchases.

Ramirez denies the move represents a stealth devaluation, though he says the auction mechanism will gradually replace the so-called Cadivi system that's used to mete out dollars to Venezuelans.

The government currently sells a dollar for 6.3 bolivars, but access is restricted and the greenback costs more than 10 times that amount on the black market. Ramirez doesn't say what exchange rate will be used at the auctions.

Ramirez made the announcement Monday.