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Venezuela inflation accelerates to 65.7% in November, congress says

NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Venezuela rose 65.7% in November, the opposition-controlled National Assembly said in a report on Friday, marking an acceleration in inflation in the crisis-stricken South American country.

That pushed the interannual inflation rate up to 4,087%, according to the congress, which publishes monthly figures due to the absence of official economic data. President Nicolas Maduro’s government has stopped regularly publishing indicators as the economy has spiraled into hyperinflationary collapse.

“Inflation continues to be one of the country’s main problems,” opposition lawmaker Jose Guerra, a trained economist, told reporters, attributing the uptick in inflation to the central bank’s increased injection of liquidity into the economy to finance the government’s deficit spending.

Consumer prices had risen by 23.8% in October. The local bolivar currency devalued rapidly against foreign currencies such as the U.S. dollar in November as the government paid end-of-year bonuses to public workers, the report said.

Venezuelans, fed up with six years of recession, inflation and a collapse in basic services, are increasingly using dollars for day-to-day transactions as inflation renders the bolivar increasingly worthless. Maduro’s government has also loosened restrictions on the use of foreign currencies.

“De facto dollarization has served as an escape valve,” Maduro, who blames the once-prosperous OPEC nation’s economic woes on U.S. sanctions and sabotage by opposition sympathizers, said in a state television appearance on Thursday.

“I would not say it is irreversible. We must defend our currency, and combine it with other currencies and cryptocurrencies.”

Reporting by Mayela Armas in Caracas Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Marguerita Choy

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