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Venezuela: Economy#

Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for almost all export earnings and nearly half of the government’s revenue. The country ended 2015 with an estimated 10% contraction in its GDP, 275% inflation, widespread shortages of consumer goods, and declining central bank international reserves. The IMF forecasts that the GDP will shrink another 8% in 2016 and inflation may reach 720%.

Falling oil prices since 2014 have aggravated Venezuela’s economic crisis. Insufficient access to dollars, price controls, and rigid labor regulations have led some US and multinational firms to reduce or shut down their Venezuelan operations. Market uncertainty and state oil company PDVSA’s poor cash flow have slowed investment in the petroleum sector, resulting in a decline in oil production.

Under President Nicolas MADURO, the Venezuelan Government’s response to the economic crisis has been to increase state control over the economy and blame the private sector for the shortages. The Venezuelan government has maintained strict currency controls since 2003. On 17 February 2016, the Venezuelan government announced a change from three official currency exchange mechanisms to only two official rates for the sale of dollars to private sector firms and individuals, with rates based on the government's import priorities. The official exchange rate used for food and medicine imports was devalued to 10 bolivars per dollar from 6.3 bolivars per dollar. The second rate moved to a managed float. These currency controls present significant obstacles to trade with Venezuela because importers cannot obtain sufficient dollars to purchase goods needed to maintain their operations. MADURO has used decree powers to enact legislation to deepen the state’s role as the primary buyer and distributor of imports, further tighten currency controls, cap business profits, and extend price controls.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$468.6 billion (2016 est.)
$520.7 billion (2015 est.)
$555.2 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$333.7 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate-10% (2016 est.)
-6.2% (2015 est.)
-3.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$15,100 (2016 est.)
$17,000 (2015 est.)
$18,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
40% of GDP (2015 est.)
9.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 71.1%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 16.7%
investment in inventories: 1.4%
exports of goods and services: 5.6%
imports of goods and services: -13.6% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 4%
industry: 36.1%
services: 59.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Industriesagricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, crude oil and petroleum products
Industrial production growth rate-8% (2016 est.)
Labor force14.16 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 7.3%
industry: 21.8%
services: 70.9% (4th quarter, 2011)
Unemployment rate10.5% (2016 est.)
6.8% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line32.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 32.7% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index39 (2011)
49.5 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $95.62 billion
expenditures: $228.8 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues28.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-39.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt36.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
49.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover central government debt, as well as the debt of state-owned oil company PDVSA; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include some debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governm
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)545.9% (2016 est.)
121.7% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate29.5% (2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate22.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
19.4% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$216.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$273.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$360 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$196 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$260.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$331.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$25.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$5.143 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.991 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Current account balance-$11.21 billion (2016 est.)
-$20.36 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$28.07 billion (2016 est.)
$38.45 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products
Exports - partnersUS 26.6%, India 13.7%, China 11.7%, Cuba 6.4% (2015)
Imports$27.13 billion (2016 est.)
$36.46 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesagricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products
Imports - partnersUS 18.4%, China 15.3%, Brazil 9.7%, Colombia 5.9%, Mexico 4.2% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$10.43 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$16.37 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$91.99 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$101.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$33.78 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$32.18 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$30.79 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.04 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesbolivars (VEB) per US dollar -
56.57 (2016 est.)
13.72 (2015 est.)
13.72 (2014 est.)
6.284 (2013 est.)
4.29 (2012 est.)