Venezuela data shows inflation at historic high

CARACAS, Venezuela, Rabi’II 06, 1437, January 16, 2016, SPA — Venezuela on Friday released its first economic data in more than a year Friday, showing an economy in shambles and inflation at a historic high, according to AP.
The Central Bank for the first time acknowledged what analysts have long said: That annualized inflation has surged into triple digits.
The bank said the economy contracted by 7.1 percent during the quarter that ended in September 2015, and inflation reached 141.5 percent.
Ahead of the surprise data release, President Nicolas Maduro said he would declare an economic emergency giving him 60 days to unilaterally enact sweeping reforms. The decree will be debated in the newly-seated opposition congress next week.
The announcements came just hours before he was expected to deliver his annual state of the nation report.
Interest in the speech is high because it will be the first time in 17 years of socialist rule that a president delivers his annual remarks here to a congress controlled by the opposition.
Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, has suffered enormously as the price of oil has crashed from above $90 a barrel two years ago to just $24 today. Analysts say that means Venezuela is getting dangerously close to just breaking even on the oil it produces, which accounts for 95 percent of export earnings.
The country’s newly-appointed economic czar has written that “inflation doesn’t exist in real life.”
In its press release, the bank officials blame a widely-used website that tracks the black market rate of the Bolivar and other participants in an “economic war” for the soaring inflation rate.
–SPA
00:12 LOCAL TIME 21:12 GMT