Venezuela: Inflation jumps to multi-year high in March
April 24, 2014
Consumer prices jumped 4.08% over the previous month in March, which was significantly up from the 2.40% increase tallied in February and marked the largest rise in four months. The print was in line with market expectations. March's increase mainly reflected higher prices for food and non-alcoholic drinks as well as for utilities.
According to LatinFocus Consensus Forecast calculations, annual inflation edged up from 57.3% in February to 59.3% in March, which represented the highest reading since April 1997. However, the Central Bank did not deliver data for core inflation or for the scarcity index.
The Central Bank continues to report inflation data via press releases, which are written in unusually-strong ideological and pro-government wording. This has led many analysts to suspect that the government has increased pressure on the Central Bank, which had always been considered one of the most reliable institutions in Venezuela.
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 59.0% by the end of this year, which is up 1.9 percentage points from last month's forecast. In 2015, the panel sees inflation at 46.7%.