January 27, 2016 / 10:43 PM / 3 years ago

Venezuelan president says economy shrank 5 percent in 2015

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with the ministers responsible for the economic sector at Miraflores Palaces in Caracas, in this handout picture provided by Miraflores Palace on January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters

QUITO (Reuters) - Venezuela’s revenues slid 70 percent due to the oil price slump and its economy shrank 5 percent in 2015, President Nicolas Maduro said at a summit in Quito on Wednesday.

The South American OPEC member’s economy contracted 3.9 percent in 2014, according to central bank figures, and is projected to shrink further this year.

Critics say 17 years of failed socialist policies are the root of Venezuela’s problems, while the Maduro government blames an “economic war” by its foes. Both sides, however, agree the oil price slide has exacerbated the crisis.

The annual inflation rate hit 141.5 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2015, according to latest official data

Speaking to a meeting of heads of state of the Latin American and Caribbean bloc CELAC, Maduro said it was remarkable in such circumstances that Venezuela had kept the extreme poverty level down to 4.7 percent.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Eyanir Chinea and Diego Ore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Leslie Adler

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