Venezuela's inflation tumbles to 9,586% in 2019: central bank

FILE PHOTO - A vendor holds Venezuelan Bolivar notes and waits for customers at a street stand in Caracas, Venezuela, January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela closed 2019 with 9,585.5% inflation, a sharp fall from 130,060% in 2018, the country’s central bank said on Tuesday.

The drop in inflation came after the government last year unexpectedly relaxed 15 years of stringent economic regulation, abandoning enforcement of price controls and allowing dollar transactions in the face of runaway inflation and U.S. sanctions. The country is in its sixth year of recession.

The government has also sharply curtailed circulation of the local bolivar currency, which has helped limit prices but left many individuals and businesses struggling to obtain bolivars.

The central bank stopped releasing basic economic indicators around four years ago, but last year started doing so at irregular intervals.

Reporting by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang