March 23, 2017 / 8:50 PM / 4 months ago

Venezuela begins republishing key economic indicator after hiatus

2 Min Read

A worker counts Venezuelan bolivar notes at a gas station of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA in Caracas, Venezuela March 21, 2017.Marco Bello

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela on Thursday re-started publishing a key economic indicator - money supply - after an unexplained month-long break.

The datapoint is important given the dearth of information about inflation and economic growth in the midst of a crisis involving soaring prices and food shortages.

Venezuela's M2, an element of money supply, is up just under 190 percent in the last year, compared to 7.0 percent in neighboring Colombia and 6.0 percent in the United States.

An increase in money supply is a major factor in Venezuela’s soaring inflation, given that the country is not producing goods or services to back up the extra money in circulation.

The indicator suddenly stopped appearing on the central bank's website on Feb. 24 though reappeared Thursday.

Neither the central bank nor information ministry responded to a request for comment.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the crisis on an "economic war" waged by the political opposition and United States. Critics blame failing socialist policies and accuse the government of suppressing data in order to hide the magnitude of the economic mess.

(Click here for a graphic on 'Venezuela's money supply' here)

Girish Gupta

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