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Chávez & Chávez, Sucessores (21) – Contabilidade criativa e estatísticas de causas, a receita do regime

Appearances deceive in Venezuela

In the context of ongoing violent anti-government protests in Venezuela and persistently high inflation (57% in February), even small wins are worth celebrating. This week the Venezuelan government released its finalised data for 2013, applauding GDP growth of 1.3%. But appearances can be deceiving: positive growth was achieved only through sharp cutbacks in import volumes, which have created widespread shortages—one of the main complaints driving protests. Import volumes fell by 9.7% in 2013, largely reflecting unwieldy foreign-exchange controls imposed by the government, which require foreign companies to apply to the authorities for US dollars, indirectly allowing the government to control imports.

By our calculations, had import volumes remained at their 2012 levels, overall GDP would have contracted by 3.5%. Worse still, had Q4 import volumes mirrored their year-earlier levels, real GDP would have dropped by a startling 9.4%. The government has pledged to address shortages by increasing the disbursements of US dollars available for purchase this year, but this will increase import volumes. Assuming that oil production continues to fall, the external sector will drag badly on overall GDP. With Maduro under increasing pressure to meet protestors' demands, it appears that there is no end in sight to Venezuela's economic woes. 

Simon Baptist, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Chief Economist

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