Venezuela's opposition-led congress has started publishing the country's inflation rate based on its own data collection, as the government of President Nicolas Maduro remains silent about the crisis-stricken nation's soaring consumer prices. Silvia Antonioli reports.
Knowledge is power, for some. Venezuela's opposition shares this view and has started to release key inflation numbers that the central bank stopped providing last year. They suggest inflation has risen by a staggering 741 percent in the 12 months to February. This, as President Nicolas Maduro remains silent about galloping consumer prices. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION DEPUTY, JOSE GUERRA, SAYING: "What we are doing is covering for the gap left by the Venezuelan Central Bank for not publishing stats, which means workers don't know how much their salary is worth. Business leaders don't know what their costs in fact are. The real interest rate can't be tabulated." Venezuela's economy has been in free fall since the 2014 collapse of oil prices, which left the socialist country unable to maintain its subsidies and price controls. As supermarket lines swell and shortages worsen, many wonder if there is a way out of this downward spiral. SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS, MARKET ANALYST, MIKE INGRAM "Unless you see an almost complete capitulation on the old Chavez socialist project by the incumbent government I just don't see how there is any immediate prospect of stabilisation. We don't see that kind of political capitulation yet so I suspect that Venezuela will edge ever closer to the economic abyss." On a more positive note: a World Bank tribunal's order for Venezuela to pay $1.4 billion in damages to Exxon Mobil over nationalizations has been revoked. A meagre consolation for an economy near the edge of a precipice.