Venezuela: National Assembly Says Inflation Was 454 Percent In First Quarter

The National Assembly has revealed the numbers of Venezuela’s inflation for the first three months of the year and they follow what most experts have estimated in recent months. Venezuela’s National Assembly says the inflation for the first three months of the year was 454 percent.

There was a small decrease in the month of March. The inflation for March was 67 percent, 13 percent less than the month of February. The inflation continues to be extremely high and recent estimates say it could get worse in the next few months.

The Central Bank has not published inflation numbers in years but the opposition-led National Assembly has continued releasing them. Estimates from opposition lawmakers revealed back in January that inflation could go over 10,000 percent in 2018.

The early estimates appear to be falling short as the inflation is rising at a quicker pace. IMF estimated a few months back that inflation could go over 13,000 percent but opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado recently tweeted that if this continues, it could reach 131,985 percent by the end of the year.

Just a few weeks ago, the government raised the minimum salary and removed three zeros off the currency. The recent changes have been criticized by several experts because they say it does not solve the problems.

The Venezuelan government blames the problems on what they say is an economic war created by the US, opposition and some of the biggest businesses in the country. Experts blame the controls set up by the government in the early 2000s.

Venezuela has one of the highest inflation in the world and opposition lawmakers say that in the last month of 2017, the country saw an inflation higher than all of Latin America in 2017 combined.

The value of the Bolivar currency has dropped over 99 percent against the US dollar since Nicolas Maduro took office nearly five years ago. The black market price of a US dollar is currently at Bs. 410684.51, according to exchange rate site DolarToday. This means that the minimum salary is at around $3. Prices and salaries are often calculated with the black market exchange rate since the government is the only one that has access to the dollars at the much lower and official rate. Venezuela’s Central Bank stopped publishing inflation data in December 2015. The year before, its data revealed a six year high annual inflation rate of 63.4 percent.