Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Venezuelan economy

Nice historical article on the Venezuelan economy (via Latin America News Review). The excerpt below is new data on the growing economy. I'm not a big fan of using GDP as a basis for gauging the broader health of an economy and society, but this is the language of the opposition and economic liberalizers.

The data just released by the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) confirm that the Venezuelan economy grew at a cumulative 10.2 percent between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the fourth quarter of 2005. This is the ninth consecutive increase since the last quarter of 2003. Overall, in 2005, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 9.3 percent.

Just like in the previous eight quarters, the strong increase was fundamentally driven by activities not related to oil: civil construction (28.3 percent), domestic trade (19.9 percent), transportation (10.6 percent), and manufacturing (8.5 percent). The oil sector had an increase of only 2.7 percent. According to a report by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), the unemployment rate in December 2005 was 8.9 percent, two percentage points below the rate in the same period of 2004. In absolute terms, this means 266,000 additional jobs. Last year, the inflation rate reached 14.4 percent, but that was below the 19.2 percent rate in 2004. The nominal interest rate went down to 14.8 percent.

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