Venezuela forex system sells dollars at 8 times official price

(Adds bank saying rate of 51.8 bolivars, paragraph 2)

By Andrew Cawthorne and Deisy Buitrago

moneyflippingCARACAS, March 24 (Reuters) – Venezuela launched a new free-floating foreign exchange system on Monday that offered dollars for eight times the official price in a move the government says will tame the black market but which critics see as a massive devaluation.

The central bank said the price for dollars on the inaugural day of the Sicad 2 system was 51.8 bolivars. Private bank operators who took part said demand was high but offers thin.