Venezuela minimum wage up 155 percent, down 13 percent in dollar terms

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela raised its minimum wage to 1 million bolivars per month on Monday, the third increase this year that puts the figure at just $1.61 at the black market exchange rate.

President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement of the 155 percent rise - or 13 percent fall, in dollar terms - came three weeks before a presidential election. It accompanies a monthly food ticket now worth just over 1.5 million bolivars.

The once-rich OPEC country is in the midst of an economic crisis in which millions earn just a couple of dollars per month, suffer food and medicine shortages and battle soaring inflation.

Maduro blames an “economic war” waged against his government by Washington and the country’s opposition.

Reporting by Girish Gupta; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe