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February annual inflation in Venezuela soars to 57.3%; Maduro blames the 'economic war'

Saturday, March 15th 2014 - 04:26 UTC
Full article 15 comments
Venezuelans for months have been struggling for basic items such as flour, cooking oil and toilet paper Venezuelans for months have been struggling for basic items such as flour, cooking oil and toilet paper

Venezuela's annual inflation rate rose to 57.3% in February, the central bank said as violent opposition demonstrations during the month disrupted the economy. However the bank also pointed out that despite the protests inflation slowed on a month-on-month basis to 2.4% from 3.3% in January.

 Demonstrators outraged over crime and shortages of staple goods and soaring consumer prices have been staging protests and blocking roads since the middle of February demanding that President Nicolas Maduro resign.

Maduro describes the soaring inflation as the result of an “economic war” led by opposition leaders and supported by ideological adversaries in Washington.

“These results came in the context of the economic war ... which had consequences for the distribution of consumer goods, limitations on the workday, and restriction of the hours of operation of commercial establishments,” the bank said.

The cost of recreation and health services both jumped 4.1% from January, while the cost of restaurants and hotels rose 3.9%. Opposition leaders say the economic problems show the state-led economic model pioneered by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez has run out of steam.

Venezuelans have for months been struggling to find basic consumption items including cooking oil, toilet paper, and flour, which has in the past weighed on the president's popularity ratings.

The bank's scarcity index, a measure of product shortages, jumped to a record 28% in January. The bank's press release did not include the figure for February.

Businesses say the shortages are caused by a combination of currency controls that prevent them from importing raw materials and price controls that at times force them to sell goods below their cost of production.

The current wave of protests, which have slowed food deliveries and forced many businesses to close, may turn public opinion against the opposition and help Maduro deflect criticism over the economic problems.

A primary driver behind inflation is the exorbitant expansion of the money supply that vastly outstrips the pace of economic growth. Liquidity grew close to 70% in 2013 despite economic growth of just 1.6%, and the money supply has doubled since November 2012.

Top Comments

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  • Anglotino

    Just print my ore money to pay the bills...

    Now why didn't my government think of that?

    We could earn million dollar salaries and have no debt.... isn't that how it works?

    Mar 15th, 2014 - 05:11 am 0
  • ilsen

    Perhaps this is Maduro's method of solving the toilet paper scarcity?

    Seriously, it would actually make more sense than many of the other Boli-bullshitters economic policies.

    Mar 15th, 2014 - 03:00 pm 0
  • Mendoza Canadian

    And who else is to blame? Surely there must be more. No, of course not...its all the fault of the US capitalists and imperialists....of course its not the fault of this communist government and its corruption.

    Mar 15th, 2014 - 04:59 pm 0
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