GO
Loading...

Watch out: This president may be deposed next

Following the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine this weekend, Venezuela may be next to depose its president, analysts warned on Monday.

(Read more: Ukraine's ousted president wanted for mass murder)

This Saturday, Ukrainian politicians voted to remove Viktor Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections, following months of violent protests sparked by the president's rejection of closer ties with the European Union.

Violence has also increased in Latin America's Venezuela since the death last year of its long-serving and firebrand leader, Hugo Chavez.

Meridith Kohut | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nicolás Maduro, Chavez's chosen socialist successor for his "Chavismo" movement, has struggled to secure his leadership amid spiralling inflation and food shortages. Clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters last week resulted in three deaths and more than 100 arrests.

Strategists warned on Monday that Maduro would be unable to meet protesters' demands, which focus on reining in inflation, improving citizen security and ending goods shortages, and that this could result in his deposal.

"It is entirely possible that Maduro could be ousted. His administration is fundamentally incapable of addressing the protestors' demands – a reality that his opponents (within Chavismo) could use against him to justify a military coup," Ford Tanner, senior analyst at IHS Energy Insight, told CNBC via email.

The instability in Venezuela has resulted in production shortfalls, leading to increasing import-dependence – a scenario Ukraine also risks, Commerbank said in a research note last week.

(Read more: Volatile Ukraine may now face default risk)

Venezuela's biggest private food producer, Empresas Polar, has also warned it faces difficulties importing raw materials, because of U.S. dollar currency shortages in the country.

Harry Colvin, a senior economist at Longview Economics said the risks of an ouster were rising, pointing to the sharp devaluation of the country's currency, the bolivar, as indicative of growing pressure. The bolivar has fallen to 87.7 per U.S. dollar in the black market, down 37 percent on the year – and more than 1,000 percent down since mid-2010.

Depreciation in bolivar since June 2010

"I think the risks are rising that he (Maduro) will be deposed," Colvin told CNBC via email. "In particular – the sharp devaluation of the currency (most notable in the black market) is a key sign of building pressure. That clearly adds to inflation risks, food security concerns and so on (which is likely to be the key driver of social unrest/political change)."

Ed Morse, the head of commodities research at Citigroup, concurred that the unrests on the streets in Venezuela could result in a military coup.

He added that it was unclear how a coup would impact the country's substantial oil industry, which currently produces around 2.2 million barrels of crude oil per day.

"Uncertainty arises as to whether it would bring order, or whether Maduro's hold on PdVSa (Venezuela's state-owned energy company) would lead to a strike of oil workers against the government. More order via military coup would be calming to oil markets. Disorder within PdV would be disruptive," Morse told CNBC via email.

(Read more: Steady oil market at risk from sabotage, instability)

Tanner said the risk of strike action and resulting disruption to supply was mitigated by a recent government agreement to raise oil workers' salaries by 90 percent over the next two years.

But even without industrial action, Tanner said a coup could still hit market sentiment and hence prices.

"A more material price impact could be seen if the unrest in Venezuela spiraled out of control and resulted in closures at ports – a real possibility," he said.

Colvin added in an email: "With respect to oil, a lot depends on who takes over (from Maduro). But this episode clearly creates uncertainty – and a risk of lower production/investment."

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow her on Twitter: @KatyBarnato

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
VERESUS=
---
OIL
---

Contact World Economy

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More