Venezuela’s economy grew 17% in the first quarter, central bank governor says

A man sells lettuce on the street near the municipal market in the popular Catia neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, June 11, 2022. Taken June 11, 2022. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

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CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s economy grew 17.04 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, the country’s central bank governor said on Tuesday.

“This is the highest growth rate in the Latin American region,” Central Bank Governor Ortega said on state television, releasing official data on Venezuela’s economic growth since the first quarter of 2019.

Ortega said the central bank is projecting second-quarter growth, but did not share figures. He said the private sector recovered 18.7% over the period.

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The central bank governor added that the Venezuelan economy grew by 19.07% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

The South American country’s economy has been in deep recession since 2014 while battling high inflation.

GDP, which was worth about $400 billion a decade ago, is now between $50 billion and $60 billion, according to estimates by analysts and economic firms.

Faced with declining oil production and US sanctions, in 2019 the government of President Nicolas Maduro eased controls over the economy, one of the factors behind the economic collapse.

Since then, de facto dollarization has breathed new life into sectors such as manufacturing, commerce and services.

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Reporting by Vivian Sequera Editing by Chris Reese and Sam Holmes

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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