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Economy of Venezuela

Economy - overview

Although a manufacturing sector producing consumer goods to cars exists, the economy is still based on oil. Since 1950s to the beginning of 1980s the Venezuelan economy was the strongest in South America. This continuous growth[?] during that period attracted many immigrants. Since the collapse of the oil price in mid 1980s the economy has mainly contracted. The positive sign of the economy has been a balance of payments surplus due to the strong oil export. Venezuelan officials estimate the economy contracted 7.2% in 1999. A steep downturn in international oil prices during the first half of the year fueled the recession, and spurred the Hugo Chavez administration to abide by OPEC-led production cuts in an effort to raise world oil prices. The petroleum sector dominates the economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of export earnings, and more than half of government operating revenues. Higher oil prices during the second half 1999 took pressure off the budget and currency. Since the currency controls were lifted in the beginning of 2002 the value has of the bolivar has decreased. Despite higher oil prices, the economy remains in the doldrums, possibly due to investor uncertainty over President Chavez's reform agenda. Implementing legislation for the new constitution will not be passed until the second half of 2000, after a new legislature is elected. With the president's economic cabinet attempting to reconcile a wide range of views, the country's economic reform program has largely stalled. The reforms have been mainly in the microeconomics such as the reduction or abolition of education and hospital fees. The government is seeking international assistance to finance reconstruction after massive flooding and landslides in December 1999 caused an estimated $15 billion to $20 billion in damage.


  • purchasing power parity : $182.8 billion (1999 est.)
  • real growth rate of GDP :-7.2% (1999 est.)
  • GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) : $8,000 (1999 est.)
  • GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 4%
industry : 63%
services : 33% (1997 est.)


  • Population below poverty line : 67% (1997 est.)
  • Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10% : 1.5%
highest 10% : 35.6% (1995)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) : 20% (1999) Labor force :

  • 9.9 million (1999)
  • Labor force by occupation: services 64%, industry 23%, agriculture 13% (1997 est.)
  • Unemployment rate: 18% (1999 est.)

revenues: $26.4 billion
expenditures: $27 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: petroleum, iron ore mining, construction materials, food processing, textiles, steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly

Industrial production growth rate: 0.5% (1995 est.)

Electricity - production: 70.39 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 25.46%
hydro: 74.54%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 65.463 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: maize, sorghum, sugar cane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish

Exports: $20.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: petroleum, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures (1998)

Exports - partners: US and Puerto Rico 57%, Colombia, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Italy (1999)

Imports: $11.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Imports - commodities: raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials (1999)

Imports - partners: US 53%, Japan, Colombia, Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada (1999)

Debt - external: $32 billion (1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $35 million with more assistance likely as a result of flooding (1999)

Currency: 1 bolivar (Bs) = 100 centimos Currency code VEB

Exchange rates: bolivares (Bs) per US$1 - 1440 (September 2002), 652.333 (January 2000), 605.717 (1999), 547.556 (1998), 488.635 (1997), 417.333 (1996), 176.843 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year

External links

See also : Venezuela
, Banco central de Venezuela[?]

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