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Venezuelan Jan-April Inflation 50 Percent, Opposition Leader says

  • Reuters

FILE - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles attends a meeting with representatives of the opposition, the Roman Catholic Church and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) at Miraflores Place in Caracas, April 10, 2014.

FILE - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles attends a meeting with representatives of the opposition, the Roman Catholic Church and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) at Miraflores Place in Caracas, April 10, 2014.

Venezuela opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Tuesday that the OPEC member's accumulated inflation rate was 50 percent during the first four months of 2015.

Capriles, who has given accurate inflation data in the past based on leaks, often criticizes the central bank for failing to publish regular monthly price data.

"April is ending and we still don't know [officially] the accumulated inflation so far this year, though unofficially we hear it's nearly 50 percent," he added in comments distributed by his office during a visit to the Valles del Tuy region.

A Central bank spokeswoman said she did not know when latest 2015 inflation data would be published, and could not comment on the figure given by Capriles.

The central bank was previously required to publish the inflation index in the first 10 days of each month. But that regulation has been eliminated and delays have been common during President Nicolas Maduro's two years in office.

Venezuela's economic problems include inflation last year totaling 68 percent, the highest of any economy in the Americas.

Critics say the government's failed socialist policies are to blame, while Maduro has said opponents are deliberately price gouging and hoarding as part of an economic "war" against him.

Opposition-leaning web site La Patilla said on Monday it had been leaked data from Central Bank statisticians showing inflation in January and February was 10.6 and 11.4 percent respectively. That, it said, took the annualized inflation figure to 96.3 percent at the end of February.

Minimum-wage workers in Venezuela are the second-worst paid in the Americas, after Cuba, Capriles said.

Venezuela's minimum wage is 5,622 bolivars per month. That is $20 at the black market rate for dollars, $29 at the weakest bolivar rate of the state's three-tier currency controls, or $892 at the strongest rate.

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