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Country Forecast Venezuela February 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Venezuela February 2018 Updater

  • February 2018
  • ID: 5345108
  • 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 in 2017 and rigged presidential elections this coming April, 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 it finds financing to meet its debt obligations or boosts dwindling oil production.
  • We estimate that inflation exceeded 2,000% at the end of 2017 and will average over 10,000% in 2018. GDP will continue to contract into 2019. High inflation has led to a collapse in private consumption and difficult 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 2021-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.
  • US dollar measurements of Venezuela's market size provide an overly positive picture of the economy, given the marked overvaluation of the fixed exchange rate. In reality, GDP contraction and extremely high inflation (driven by shortages of foreign exchange and basic goods) will continue to restrict purchasing power. After 2020, under a new government, we expect purchasing power and the business environment to improve.

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