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Venezuela Economy 1996

    • Overview:
      Despite efforts to broaden the base of the economy, petroleum continues to play a dominant role. In 1994, as GDP declined 3.3%, the oil sector - which accounts for 24% of the total - enjoyed a 6% expansion, provided 45% of the budget revenues, and generated 70% of the export earnings. President CALDERA, who assumed office in February 1994, has used an interventionist, reactive approach to managing the economy, instituting price and foreign exchange controls in mid-year to slow inflation and stop the loss of foreign exchange reserves. The government claims it will remove these controls once inflationary pressures abate, but the $8 billion bailout of the banking sector in 1994 has made it difficult for the government to make good on its promise. Economic controls, coupled with political uncertainty driven by recurrent coup rumors, continue to deter foreign and domestic investment; private forecasters see the recession persisting for a third year in 1995.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $178.3 billion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:
      -3.3% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $8,670 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      71% (1994 est.)

    • Unemployment rate:
      9% (1994 est.)

    • Budget:

        $10.3 billion

        $14.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $103 million (1994 est.)

    • Exports:
      $15.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

        petroleum 72%, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures

        US and Puerto Rico 55%, Japan, Netherlands, Italy

    • Imports:
      $7.6 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

        raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials

        US 40%, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Canada

    • External debt:
      $40.1 billion (1994)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate -1.4% (1993 est.); accounts for 41% of GDP

    • Electricity:

        18,740,000 kW

        72 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        3,311 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      petroleum, iron-ore mining, construction materials, food processing, textiles, steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly

    • Agriculture:
      accounts for 6% of GDP; products - corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee, beef, pork, milk, eggs, fish; not self-sufficient in food other than meat

    • Illicit drugs:
      illicit producer of cannabis, opium, and coca leaf for the international drug trade on a small scale; however, large quantities of cocaine and heroin transit the country from Colombia; important money-laundering hub

    • Economic aid:

        US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-86), $488 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $10 million

    • Currency:
      1 bolivar (Bs) = 100 centimos

    • Exchange rates:
      bolivares (Bs) per US$1 - 169.570 (January 1995), 148.503 (1994), 90.826 (1993), 68.38 (1992), 56.82 (1991), 46.90 (1990)

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year

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