Venezuela: Inflation accelerates slightly in January
February 11, 2014
According to preliminary figures released on 11 February, consumer prices rose 3.30% over the previous month in January. Although the increase undershot the 3.94% rise that LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panelists had expected, it was up from the 2.22% increase tallied in December. January's acceleration mainly reflected higher prices for restaurants and hotels, as well as for food and non-alcoholic beverages. The Central Bank stated that the moderation seen in recent months mostly reflects government efforts to crack down on price speculation.
Annual inflation inched up from 56.2% in December to 56.3% in January. Meanwhile, the core inflation index - which excludes volatile items such as fresh food, oil and other goods subject to government price controls - rose 3.20% over the previous month, which was above the 2.32% increase recorded in December. Annual core inflation was steady at December's 60.3%.
According to data released on 24 January, the country's scarcity index, which is a measure of the basic items that are out of stock at any given time, declined from 23.0% in November to 22.2% in December.
Per its 2014 budget, the Venezuelan government expects inflation to end the year between 26.0% and 28.0%. LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panelists, however, expect inflation to reach 51.7% by the end of this year, which is up 5.2 percentage points from last month's forecast. In 2015, the panel sees inflation at 40.9%.