State Of Play: The Economy
Venezuela has become a byword for economic crisis in the Americas. No other country in the region has experienced political involution, institutional decay and economic collapse on a similar scale in recent memory. It is difficult to quantify the crisis with any degree of precision, because the central bank (BCV) and the finance ministry have all but ceased publishing macroeconomic data. Information comes out in dribs and drabs. The BCV reported an annual GDP contraction of 5.7% in 2015, with inflation of 181%. A BCV report shown to Reuters by an anonymous source on 20 December 2016 included a preliminary estimate that GDP had contracted by an eye-popping 18.6% year on year, with inflation purportedly running at 800%.