World Economy

Venezuela Shrunk by 16.5% in 2016

Venezuela Shrunk by 16.5% in 2016Venezuela Shrunk by 16.5% in 2016

Venezuela’s economy shrank a massive 16.5% in 2016, according to an official government filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The oil-rich but impoverished country attributed the collapse to a contraction of 9.9% in the oil sector and 16.1% in the non-oil economy, AFP reported. The 150-page report, received by the SEC, also reported inflation at 274.4%, and an unemployment rate of 7.5% in the calendar year ending on December 31, 2016. And it revealed a sharp drop in Venezuelan imports in 2016, when purchases totaled $16.4 billion, half of the $33.3 billion of the previous year. “Since 2015, there has been increasing political and social unrest due to shortages of basic consumer goods as a result of a drop in domestic food production; limited access to imports as a result of currency restrictions; smuggling; hoarding and other distribution problems,” the report noted. It also classed 11.3% of the population as “extremely poor” in 2014, the last year the figures were available, up from 7.1% in 2012. Venezuela is going through an acute economic crisis that intensified in 2014 with the fall in oil prices, the source of 96% of its export revenue. There is a major shortage of food and medicines and a hyperinflationary spiral that, according to analysts, will exceed 2,000% in 2017.

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