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IMF: Venezuelan Inflation Could Reach One Million Percent (Yes, You Read It Right) This Year

A Venezuelan holds a stack of near-worthless 100 bolivar bills at a shop in Caracas this year.
Fernando Llano
AP via Miami Herald
A Venezuelan holds a stack of near-worthless 100 bolivar bills at a shop in Caracas this year.

When the year started, we were astounded to hear Venezuela’s 2018 inflation rate could top 13,000 percent. That’s pretty bad hyperinflation. But Venezuelans now look at that forecast as the good news.

Try to wrap your arms around this one: This week the International Monetary Fund is predicting Venezuela’s 2018 annualized inflation rate could reach One. Million. Percent.

The IMF is calling it “one of the most severe hyperinflation situations that we’ve known about since the beginning of the 20 th century.”

And that’s saying a lot. One million percent would put Venezuela close to an inflation stratosphere only countries like Zimbabwe in the 2000s and Germany in the 1920s have occupied.

But sadly, it’s not all that surprising.

Prices in Venezuela are doubling about twice a month now. That’s due to a catastrophic economic collapse caused largely by the authoritarian socialist regime’s mismanagement. It’s accelerating because production of oil – the country’s only real export – is plummeting.

The humanitarian crisis has made President Nicolás Maduro so unpopular he has to keep raising salaries to avoid a national uprising. That only raises inflation more. And that makes the currency, the bolívar, even more worthless.

And that means more desperate Venezuelans escaping to places like South Florida.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.
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