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Country Forecast Venezuela December 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Venezuela December 2017 Updater

  • December 2017
  • ID: 359055
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • Although the regime of the president, Nicolás Maduro, will strengthen its grip on power in the wake of the installation of a Constituent Assembly, The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect Mr Maduro to remain in power beyond 2019. The most likely scenarios for a transition to an opposition-led government are through ad hoc elections after economic collapse or a military coup. There is a risk that the regime will cling to power beyond 2019 if the government finds financing to avoid a disorderedly default or if it manages to boost dwindling oil production.
  • We estimate that inflation will exceed 1,600% by end-2017 and average over 2,000% in 2018. GDP will continue to contract into 2019. High inflation has led to a collapse in private consumption and operating conditions have hurt investment. We forecast a recovery beginning in 2020, by which time the current opposition is expected to be in government, leading to macro-economic adjustments, and institutional and structural reforms.
  • Sweeping reforms are required to restore confidence in contract and property rights, and thereby promote a recovery in investment. The business environment is among the weakest in the world, reflecting outright hostility from the government towards the private sector as well as critical shortages of inputs needed to maintain productive capacity. From 2019 a new government will encourage private investment, re-establish market mechanisms for price stability and attempt to undo the constraints imposed by the government on private firms.
  • Worsening shortages of consumer goods and quadruple-digit inflation will hit private consumption, and an increasingly difficult operating environment will accentuate the fall in fixed investment. The recession that began in 2014 will continue to deepen despite a partial recovery in oil prices, and the economy will not return to growth until 2020-assuming that a new government takes power and implements reforms. However, these reforms will take time to bear fruit, reinforcing our forecasts of only a weak recovery.
  • At almost 300bn barrels, Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, but its oil sector has suffered from disinvestment and mismanagement owing to political interference. The government claims that rising investment in the energy sector will lift oil production significantly in the medium term, but we foresee a continued fall in production until 2019, followed by rising output from 2020 onwards as economic conditions stabilise.

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