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Venezuela’s Economy Shrank 13.2% in 2017

Venezuela’s Economy Shrank 13.2% in 2017Venezuela’s Economy Shrank 13.2% in 2017

Venezuela’s crumbling economy shrank 13.2% in 2017, the fourth year of a crippling recession in the OPEC nation, the opposition-led congress said late Monday.

The opposition has been calculating inflation and GDP in the absence of up-to-date official data for the socialist-run economy that has been contracting since early 2014, Reuters reported.

“The economy is being destroyed,” said opposition lawmaker and economist Jose Guerra at a presentation of the figures at the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The data uses oil industry activity, vehicle assembly, bank loans and tax collection to gauge overall economic performance. With hunger and malnutrition rising, widespread shortages, and an ongoing exodus of migrants, critics blame Venezuela’s mess on failed policies and corruption.

President Nicolas Maduro alleges an “economic war” by political foes and the United States.

The slump in global oil prices since 2014 has also hit hard.

The central bank did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Monday’s figures from the opposition. The bank has not released Venezuela’s gross domestic product data since 2015, when the economic activity fell 6.2%.

But in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Venezuela’s government last year acknowledged its economy had shrunk 16.5% in 2016.

The opposition’s latest inflation indicator said prices rose more than 4,000% in the 12 months to the end of January.

Meanwhile, more than half (53%) of young Venezuelans, between 15 and 29, want to move abroad permanently, after food shortages, violence and a political crisis that escalated to new extremes in 2017, according to a new survey by US firm Gallup.

Once Latin America’s richest country, Venezuela’s economy is now collapsing and it is battling hyperinflation at levels unmatched anywhere else in the world. The IMF projects inflation will reach 13,000% this year and the economy will shrink 15%.

 

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