April 11, 2018 / 4:35 PM / 8 months ago

Venezuela inflation 454 percent in first quarter: National Assembly

A street vendor counts bolivar notes as he waits for clients in Caracas, Venezuela March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

CARACAS - Prices rose 454 percent in the first three months of this year in Venezuela, according to the country’s opposition-led National Assembly, whose numbers are broadly in line with those of independent economists.

The country is undergoing a major crisis, with millions of people suffering from food shortages, hyperinflation and a currency that weakens significantly every day.

Annual inflation over the last 12 months, according to the National Assembly, is just shy of 8,900 percent. Monthly inflation in March was 67 percent, down from 80 percent the previous month. The country’s central bank has not published inflation data for more than two years.

However, it does publish money supply data, the sum of cash, with checking, savings, and other deposits. That has risen more than 2,900 percent in the last 12 months, which, without an increase in the supply of goods and services, is a textbook cause of inflation.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the problems on an “economic war” being waged against Venezuela by the United States, the opposition and business people.

In June, the bolivar currency will be redenominated by having three zeros lopped off though there will be no change in its value, which has dropped well over 99 percent against the U.S. dollar since Maduro came to power in 2013.

Reporting by Girish Gupta; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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