Venezuela's vice president for economic policy announced Tuesday that the government will inaugurate this week a three-tiered exchange-rate regime which includes a “totally free” market open to both individuals and companies.
Venezuela's annual inflation rate hit 45.4% in August, the central bank revealed this week, the highest in five years and the highest in the region, even as consumer price increases slowed from the previous month.
President Nicolas Maduro replaced Venezuelan Finance Minister Jorge Giordani, appointing central bank chief Nelson Merentes in his place two days after being sworn in as Hugo Chavez's successor.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez delegated certain responsibilities in economic affairs to Vice-President Nicolas Maduro including the right to authorize debt sales and seize assets. The announcement comes at a moment when significant economic decisions must be taken following the profligate spending leading to last October’s election.
Venezuela's annual inflation slowed for a seventh straight month in July, coming in below 20% for the first time in years. Finance Minister Jorge Giordani said annual inflation to July was 19.4% percent, below the 20 to 22% estimated in the government's budget for this year.
Inflation in Venezuela during last year reached 27.6%, which is 0.7 percentage points more than in 2010, according to a preliminary report from Venezuela’s central bank. President Nelson Merentes said that the consumer prices index “was associated to the upwards pressure generated on wholesale prices by a greater dynamism from domestic aggregate demand”.
Venezuela’s central bank has requested its 99 tons of gold holdings from the Bank of England, according to a bank statement sent by e-mail, citing the institution’s president Nelson Merentes.
Venezuela's nationwide consumer price index (NCPI), prepared by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) and the National Statistics Institute (INE), showed a 1.4% increase in March 2011 compared to February 2011.
Venezuela’s economy contracted 1.9% 2010, marking a second year of recession according to a release from the Central Bank. The economy shrank 3.3% in 2009, but President Hugo Chavez's government said the country is now pulling out of recession and on course for 2% growth in 2011.