MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Fourth quarter inflation in 2015 amounted to 34.6 percent, down from third quarter's 38.9 percent and bringing the annual figure to 180.9 percent, the Central Bank of Venezuela fourth quarter report said, quoting National Statistics Institute figures.
Venezuela's previous bout of inflation in the mid-1990s saw prices rise just over 100 percent annually. The historic record was surpassed in mid-2015.
While food and soft drinks, the hospitality sector and transport were the largest contributors to Venezuela's fourth quarter inflation with prices rising 42.2, 46.6 and 37 percent respectively, prices for alcohol, tobacco, clothing and education services all increased by over 30 percent. Prices for healthcare, domestic appliances and leisure services all increased just under 30 percent, with communications and rent appreciating 8.5 and 6.1 percent respectively.
In outlining macroeconomic disturbances, the report pinned the driving forces behind inflation to a deficit of consumer goods, falling imports and production, as well as plunging global oil prices. At the same time, Venezuela's economy shrank 5.7 percent last year, with the private sector contracting over eight percent.
On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced an increase in the price of gasoline from $0.01 per liter to $0.95 per liter and the devaluation of the national currency from 6.3 to 10 bolivars per dollar.
In January, Maduro declared an economic emergency in Venezuela. The announcement came two days after Venezuela’s oil price dropped to $24 a barrel, the lowest mark in 12 years. Up to 96 percent of Venezuela’s budget depends on oil revenues.