Venezuela's economy contracted 16.6% in 2017

THE IMF can exclude Venezuela due to the lack of official information in the last three years.

Una mujer en Miami rebusca en la basura © EFE
A woman in Miami searches through the trash Photo © EFE

This article is from 5 years ago

CARACAS, Nov 22 (Reuters) - TheVenezuelan economy It contracted 16.6 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to preliminary data reviewed by the Central Bank board, said two sources familiar with the matter, which would constitute the most severe decline since the recession began almost five years ago.

The bank has not provided official information on economic results for three years and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was given partial information on the price rise in 2016.The economy entered a recession at the beginning of 2014., according to data from the Central Bank.

The economy entered a recession at the beginning of 2014, according to data from the Central Bank

Preliminary information indicates thatoil activity decreased 11.3 percent in 2017 and the non-oil sector 15.2 percent compared to the previous year. If the figure were made official, the economic contraction would have been the most serious in the world last year, according to the IMF database.

The multilateral organizationhas put pressure on the Venezuelan authorities in recent weeks to hand over the data, the sources said. Venezuela must provide annual information on the performance of prices, the balance of payments and the Gross Domestic Product.

The BCV board showed interest in providing figures to the multilateral organization, the sources added. But they have not yet approved the report.

The economist and official legislator in the powerful Constituent Assembly, Jesús Faría, added that "a first contact has already been made to deliver the macroeconomic data. We cannot afford to be sanctioned by the IMF, because that sanction can lead to exclusion of the organism".

The director of the IMF's communications department, Gerry Rice, said on November 15 that the agency's staff had contacted Venezuelan authorities about the release of data and that he hoped the talks would lead to a "productive conclusion," but He declined to give more details.

The Central Bank and the Ministry of Communication did not respond to requests for comment.

According to preliminary estimates, wholesale prices rose 2,800 percent last year, when the country began experiencing its first hyperinflation. This measurement is usually in line with consumer prices, sources noted.

Wholesale prices rose 2,800 percent last year

Congress, in the hands of the opposition, began measuring the evolution of prices and economic activity two years ago to fill the gap in official information. According to the National Assembly report, inflation in 2017 was 2,616 percent.

The IMF would be demanding from the Venezuelan authorities more data on the financial results of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the electrical and telecommunications companies, the sources added.

With the late Hugo Chávez in the presidency the figures were released regularly, but under the mandate of his successor Nicolás Maduro the presentation of economic data was delayed.

(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Corina Pons. Editing by Javier López de Lérida)

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