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Venezuela is now more than 50% dollarized -Study


U.S. dollars and Venezuelan bolivares.

- Caracas, was among the least dollarized city
- Many Venezuelans now rely on remittances from relatives abroad

By Fabiola Zerpa / Bloomberg

Petroleumworld 11 06 2019

Venezuela's economy is increasingly dollarized, with more than half of retail transactions now being carried out in U.S. currency, a study found.

An estimated 54% of all sales in Venezuela last month were in dollars, according to a survey by Econoalitica, a Caracas-based research firm.

In Maracaibo, the country's second-largest city, about 86% of all transactions took place in dollars, according to the study. The city has been one of the worst hit by blackouts, which has rendered credit card readers useless for days on end.

More than four million Venezuelans have migrated in recent years to escape the economic crisis, and many of their families back home now survive on the remittances they send back. This has caused a breach in living standards between those with access to hard currency, and those without, said Asdrubal Oliveros, director of Ecoanalitica.

“Venezuela lives in an economy dominated by dollar transactions,” Oliveros told reporters. “This excludes those who only have access to bolivars, whose ability to buy things is severely restricted.”

A recent loosening of price controls has led to a boom of product imports -- from Nutella to Heineken -- sold in foreign currency. But the products are sold at prices that few people dependent on local currency salaries can afford, in a country where the monthly minimum salary is about $6.

Almost all electrical appliances in Venezuela are now purchased in dollars, as are more than half of the sales of clothes, spare parts for cars and food, the survey found.

The capital, Caracas, was among the least dollarized of the the nation's major cities, according to the survey which was conducted from Oct. 10-15.

Story by Fabiola Zerpa from Bloomberg. / 11 05 2019


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