‘Runaway inflation’ in Venezuela has reached the point where bank notes are being weighed rather than counted.
The country’s currency, the bolivar has devalued so much that traders have given up counting the huge wads of banknotes handed over by their customers.
Last month it emerged that new 20,000 bolivar notes will be produced to keep up with the rate of inflation. At the moment the highest bank note in circulation is 100 bolivars.
Traders have taken to weighing money rather than counting it because of runaway inflation in Venezuela
Baker Bremmer Rodrigues said the huge piles of notes that shopkeepers build up make them feel ‘like Pablo Escobar’
Describing the situation at his delicatessen counter in Caracas, Humberto Gonzalez told Bloomberg that the sheer volume of bills needed to pay for everyday items makes life hard for traders.
He said: ‘It’s sad. At this point, I think the cheese is worth more.’
The inflation rate in Venezuela is expected to reach 480 per cent this year, and 1,600 per cent by 2017.
A box full of cash is carried by a worker in a Caracas bakery as hyperinflation sees businesses building up mountains of cash
And the country’s military has been put in charge of managing food supplies as the economic crisis deepens.
Jesus Casique, financial director at consulting firm Capital Market Finance, told Bloomberg: ‘When they start weighing cash, it’s a sign of runaway inflation.
‘But Venezuelans don’t know just how bad it is because the government refuses to publish figures.’
At the moment the highest denomination note in circulation is 100 bolivars, but new 20,000 bolivar notes are on their way
A day’s earnings are weighed by shop staff in Caracas because the currency has devalued so much
Baker Bremmer Rodrigues said shopkeepers accumulate huge volumes of cash. He observed: ‘I feel like Pablo Escobar. It’s a mountain of cash, every day more and more.’
Yesterday Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said a deal which would cut output and hike oil prices was ‘imminent’.
He said the deal by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was ‘a complete success’.
Yesterday Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said a deal which would cut output and hike oil prices was ‘imminent’
Maduro branded it a ‘complete success’ and added: ‘I trust in God and his blessings. I trust in the efforts we have made.’
Venezuela depends on oil for about 95 percent of export revenues, so the price fall has contributed to a severe recession, along with failing socialist economic policies.
Since oil prices collapsed in 2014, Venezuela has been among the most vocal in pushing both OPEC and non-OPEC countries to slash output.