1. Market Research
Country Report Venezuela October 2017

Country Report Venezuela October 2017

  • October 2017
  • ID: 325956
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

Table of Contents

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Outlook for 2018-22



  • The president, Nicolás Maduro, will strengthen his grip on power following the installation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution, but we do not expect him to remain in office beyond 2019.
  • The most likely triggers for a transition to an opposition-led government are economic collapse (most probably as foreign-exchange shortages culminate in debt default) or a military coup. In either case, we would expect elections.
  • But there is a risk that the regime will cling on to power if either Chinese or Russian finance unexpectedly helps Venezuela to avoid debt default, or should Mr Maduro be replaced by another party official to appease critics.
  • We estimate that inflation will exceed 1,000% by end-2017 and forecast inflation of 1,900% by end-2018. There is a rising risk of hyperinflation as the central bank continues to print money for government spending.
  • We expect GDP to contract by 5.7% in 2018, following a 9.3% contraction in 2017. High inflation and rationing has hammered private consumption and difficult operating conditions have hurt investment.
  • We forecast a weak recovery beginning only in 2020. By this time the current opposition is expected to be in government, leading to a combination of macroeconomic adjustments, and institutional and structural reforms.
  • Economic distortions are evident in a hugely overvalued exchange rate. Inflation will remain extremely high until 2019, easing thereafter. Despite massive import compression, the risk of a balance-of-payments crisis is high.


Review



  • On September 27th the opposition Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) officially started its campaigning ahead of the October 15th elections. The MUD will have tickets in all 19 of the 23 governorships races.
  • Internationally mediated negotiations, agreed to in mid-September, seem to have stalled, with opposition members not arriving in the Dominican Republic, the negotiating venue, on the agreed date of September 27th.
  • The US has once again increased individual sanctions on Venezuela, expanding the list of officials barred from entering the US and ordering increased screening for Venezuelan passport holders.
  • The government has halted the auctions for US dollars via the Dicom system, which was used by the private sector to purchase US dollars and was in place for only three months before being suspended.
  • After missing a US$185m debt repayment on September 15th, the government announced that it had met its obligations on the 20th, still within the grace-period.


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