Venezuela Abandons Demand That U.S. Diplomats Leave

The 35-year-old leader of the opposition-dominated National Assembly also called on people from across Venezuela and from "all over the world" to hold mass demonstrations on Saturday to coincide with a European Union ultimatum for fresh elections, which has been rejected by Maduro.

"I think both those factors seem to have sparked fears about slowing demand growth, which have been one of the main bearish drivers in the market for a while", McGillian said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro oversaw a display of the army's Russian hardware on Sunday, with anti-aircraft flak and tank rounds pounding a hillside to show military force and loyalty.

Maduro, who maintains the backing of the military, has accused the USA and Guaido of attempting to engineer a coup.

On Sunday, Israel joined the countries backing the 35-year-old opposition leader, and the USA administration said it had accepted Venezuelan opposition figure Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as the country's diplomatic representative in the United States.

Ruling left-wing SYRIZA party issued its own statement last week in which it expressed support for "the legitimate President" Maduro.

Mr Guaido claims he is entitled to the presidency on the basis that President Nicolas Maduro's reelection to a second six-year term was fraudulent.

Washington also accepted exiled opposition leader Carlos Vecchio as Venezuela's new charge d'affaires to the United States after he was tapped by Guaido.

People in Spain protest against Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and in support of an opposition leader self-proclaimed as the interim president of the country. "This is complete insolence", he said.

Pope Francis, winding up a trip to Panama, said on Sunday he was praying that "a just and peaceful solution is reached to overcome the crisis, respecting human rights".

Maduro has received support from Russia, Syria, Turkey and China as well as longtime allies Cuba and Bolivia.

Washington has threatened to intervene if any threats are made against American diplomats or Guaido, with President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton warning any such actions will be met with "a significant response".

Although he professed himself "open to dialogue", he acknowledged it was unlikely.

Some 29 people have been killed and more than 350 people have been detained in clashes this week between anti-Maduro activists and security forces.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kept up the tough rhetoric at the United Nations, telling other nations: "Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem'".

The show of force was accompanied by a government publicity campaign online based on the slogan "Always Loyal, Never A Traitor", and followed a high-profile defection by the country's top military diplomat in the United States last Saturday.

Pompeo urged nations to end financial transactions with Maduro's government, which has struggled to pay bills despite the country's oil wealth.

It follows similar declarations by the US, Britain, Germany and France.

High U.S. crude oil production, which rose to a record 11.9 million barrels per day (bpd) late a year ago, has been weighing on oil markets, traders said.

  • Wendy Palmer