Venezuela economy grew 17.73% y/y through September – central bank

FILE PHOTO: Rising dollar may stymie Venezuela's efforts to combat inflation

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s economy grew 17.73% year-over-year in the first three quarters of 2022, the South American country’s central bank said Friday, following an eight-year economic collapse.

The economy plunged into crisis after a state-controlled model failed to produce results, prompting more than 7 million Venezuelans to flee the country.

In 2019 President Nicolas Maduro’s government, facing U.S. sanctions, relaxed private sector regulations to allow more foreign currency inflows. While the move helped some industries, annual inflation remains high – hitting 155% in October – and more than half of Venezuelans live in poverty.

Venezuela’s central bank began publishing some economic data more consistently this year after a three-year pause in gross domestic product data. It has yet to resume reporting its outstanding balances.

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Oil activity rose 27.09% in the January-to-September period from a year ago and non-oil activity grew 14.49%, the bank said in a statement.

It attributed the bump in oil activity to the “recovery of crude oil production capacity.” The bank did not report the country’s production volumes, though OPEC data indicates output of 600,000 to 700,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The manufacturing sector rebounded in the period, growing nearly 40% led by food, chemicals, machinery and plastic.

Construction grew 34.45% year-over-year and commerce increased 25.28%. Exports jumped 32.57% and imports rose 11.43%, the central bank added.

(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Vivian Sequera; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Brendan O’Boyle and Richard Chang)