Venezuela inflation quickens to 248.6 percent in year to July: opposition

Slideshow ( 2 images )

CARACAS (Reuters) - Inflation in Venezuela’s crisis-hit economy quickened to 248.6 percent in the first seven months of the year, the opposition-led congress said on Wednesday in the absence of official data.

Economic hardship in Venezuela, where there are severe food shortages, is fueling unrest that has led to over 120 deaths in the last four months.

Various factors underlay the seven-month price rise, including a lack of U.S. dollars in the country, a sharp weakening of the bolivar currency, and political uncertainty, opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado said.

He noted that monthly inflation was quickening, with the rise reaching 26 percent in July versus 21.4 percent in June.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government has not published official data for more than a year.

Government opponents say Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have wrecked a once-prosperous economy with 18 years of state-led socialist policies ranging from nationalizations to currency controls.

The government says it is victim of an “economic war” led by opposition-linked businessmen.

Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer