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Venezuela’s Grim Reaper – A Weekly Report

The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worthless, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing the world’s worst inflation. 

 

As the bolivar collapsed and inflation accelerated, the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) became an unreliable source of inflation data. Indeed, from December 2014 until January 2016, the BCV did not report inflation statistics. Then, the BCV pulled a rabbit out of its hat in January 2016 and reported a phony annual inflation rate for the third quarter of 2015. So, the last official inflation data reported by the BCV is almost two years old. To remedy this problem, the Johns Hopkins – Cato Institute Troubled Currencies Project, which I direct, began to measure Venezuela’s inflation in 2013. 

The most important price in an economy is the exchange rate between the local currency and the world’s reserve currency — the U.S. dollar. As long as there is an active black market (read: free market) for currency and the black market data are available, changes in the black market exchange rate can be reliably transformed into accurate estimates of countrywide inflation rates. The economic principle of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) allows for this transformation.

I compute the implied annual inflation rate on a daily basis by using PPP to translate changes in the VEF/USD exchange rate into an annual inflation rate. The chart below shows the course of that annual rate, which peaked at 1823% (yr/yr) in early August 2017. At present, Venezuela’s annual inflation rate is 1805%, the highest in the world (see the chart below).

 
 

by Steve H. Hanke

Past Blogs

Venezuela’s Grim Reaper – A Weekly Report

August 29, 2017

The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worthless, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing the world’s worst inflation.

more »

Venezuela’s Grim Reaper – A Weekly Report

August 22, 2017

The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worthless, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing the world’s worst inflation.

more »

How Bank Regulations Hinder the U.S. Recovery

August 17, 2017

Since the Northern Rock bank run of 2007 — the “opening shot” of the financial crisis — the money supply, broadly measured, in the United States, Great Britain, and the Eurozone has taken a beating. In the United States, money supply growth has rebounded somewhat. This is a positive sign, because the quantity of money and nominal gross domestic product (GDP), as well as related measures of aggregate demand, are all closely related. Indeed, if broad money growth is robust, the nominal GDP, which is composed of real and inflation components, will be robust and vice versa.

more »

Venezuela’s Grim Reaper – A Weekly Report

August 15, 2017

The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worthless, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing the world’s worst inflation.

more »