Tuesday, December 30, 2014 11:19 pm
Venezuela confirmed Tuesday that its economy has entered recession, contracting for the first three quarters of the year, while inflation topped 63 percent in the 12 months to November.
The South American oil giant’s economy shrank 2.3 percent in the third quarter, after contracting 4.8 percent in the first quarter and 4.9 percent in the second, the central bank said.
The inflation rate, a figure the government had not released since August, meanwhile came in at 4.7 percent for the month of November and 63.6 percent for the year — among the highest in the world.
Price increases were the sharpest for housing, food and alcoholic beverages, and restaurants and hotels.
President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist government has introduced mandatory price cuts and rent controls in a bid to rein in the increases but has not managed to get the inflationary spiral under control.
Inflation has been aggravated by severe shortages of basic goods.
The central bank has not published the index that measures the shortages since March, when it found that 19 categories of key products were experiencing “serious supply problems.”
Falling crude prices have taken an added toll on a country that gets 96 percent of its foreign currency from oil.
According to Maduro, Venezuela’s oil export price has plunged from $95 a barrel in September to $48 today.