Venezuela flag Venezuela: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Endowed with the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is largely dependent on fluctuations in oil prices. The country experienced a 6% GDP growth in 2022 due to the increase in oil prices and the recovery in remittances sent to the country by Venezuelans abroad, followed by an estimated growth of 4% in 2023. Despite the recent recovery, GDP remains only one-fourth of the pre-crisis level in 2013. Venezuela has been in a deep recession since 2013, and according to the IMF, its GDP contracted more between 2013 and 2018 than the United States did during the Great Depression of 1929-1933. For 2024, the IMF forecasts growth at 4.5%.

The country's industrial activity continues to suffer from insufficient diversification and difficulties in importing intermediate products. The policy of redistributing petroleum through social measures was hindered by the weakness of oil prices, which have been in sharp decline since 2012, only recently recovering. This has reinforced the macro-economic imbalances that Venezuela suffers from. The consumer price index in Venezuela settled at 193% during 2023, slightly lower than expected, according to figures provided by the Venezuelan Observatory of Finance. Although this is the highest rate in the world, it is much lower than the level recorded the previous year when inflation stood at 305%. The hyperinflationary climate was created by several years of monetizing the public deficit, a free-falling currency that makes imports more expensive, a strong depreciation of the currency in both the official and black markets, and dramatic shortages of basic goods. The central bank’s policy of reducing the money supply is not expected to help reduce hyperinflation sustainably, as it does not address the economy’s key imbalances.Despite multiple minimum wage hikes decided by the government, real wages have continuously decreased, and household consumption is highly dependent on remittances from expatriates. Venezuela's government anticipates a 27% rise in revenue from the state-operated oil company PDVSA in 2024, following a loosening of U.S. sanctions amidst planned presidential elections and stagnant production. President Nicolas Maduro's administration projects total expenditure for the year to reach USD 20.5 billion, representing a 39% increase on 2023 spending. The temporary easing of sanctions, scheduled to remain in effect until April 2024 unless reversed by the U.S., has caused a surge in prices for Venezuelan crude. Analysts anticipate that this increase in revenue will prompt additional social spending by the government, aiming to secure support in the upcoming presidential election, in which Maduro is likely to seek reelection. According to the latest available data from the IMF, public debt stood at 159.5% of GDP in 2022 (down from 248.4% one year earlier).

In Venezuela, even though the minimum wage has been increased numerous times over the past few years, wage increases have not kept up with inflation. Therefore, purchasing power is weak and has greatly decreased in recent years; poverty has increased, and the health system is in a critical state. The unemployment rate has been rising for years, and the IMF estimated that this rate has surpassed half of the Venezuelan workforce. Nevertheless, the state has not released an official unemployment figure since 2021, when it claimed it was 7.9%. Furthermore, the country also faces a rise in insecurity, with the highest homicide rate in South America. Because of the country's current economic situation, there are severe shortages of basic goods, such as food and medicine - with Venezuela being among the countries with the highest rates of food insecurity in the world. As such, neighboring countries have been receiving a large number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in recent years, with estimates suggesting that over 6 million people have left the country so far.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 92.1092.2197.680.000.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 8.04.04.50.00.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,4223,4743,69200
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 159.50.00.00.00.0
Inflation Rate (%) n/a360.0200.00.00.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 0.00.00.00.00.0
Current Account (billions USD) 3.312.023.320.000.00
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.62.23.40.00.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Venezuelan Bolivar (VEF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 ZAR n/an/an/an/an/a

2015

 

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Latest Update: March 2024