Venezuela flag Venezuela: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Endowed with the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is largely dependent on fluctuations of oil prices. The country had a 6% growth of GDP in 2022, due to the increase in oil prices and the recovery in the level of remittances sent to the country by Venezuelans abroad. According to the IMF, the country should record a growth of 6.5% for 2023 and 0% in 2024. The country has been in a deep recession since 2013 and, according to the IMF, Venezuela’s GDP contracted more between 2013 and 2018 than the United States did during the Great Depression of 1929-1933.The GDP per capita nearly halved between 2019 and 2021, going from USD 2,299 to USD 1,627, and should continue down the same trajectory in the short term.

The country's industrial activity continues to suffer from insufficient diversification and difficulties to import intermediate products. The policy of redistribution of the petroleum through social measures was impeached by the weakness of the oil prices, in strong decline since 2012. This reinforced the macro-economic imbalances that Venezuela suffers from. According to the Central Bank of Venezuela, the country's hyperinflation went from 686.4% in 2021 to 210% in 2022, demonstrating a deceleration of consumer price growth thanks to inflation control measures but in place by the government, which include the restriction of credit and lower spending in bolivars to maintain the stability of the exchange rate. The hyper-inflationary climate was created by several years of monetising the public deficit, a free-falling currency that makes imports more expensive, a strong depreciation of the currency in both the official and black markets and dramatic shortages of basic goods. The central bank’s policy of reducing the money supply is not expected to help reduce hyperinflation sustainably, as it does not address the economy’s key imbalances. Despite multiple minimum wage hikes decided by the government, real wages have been continuously decreasing, and household consumption is highly dependent on remittances from expatriates. As a result, growth in the host countries of Venezuelan expatriates, such as Colombia, Spain, the United States, increased remittance flows in 2022, supporting some recovery in household consumption. According to the latest available data from the IMF, public debt rose stood at 240.5% of the GDP in 2021. While the government has implemented a series of fiscal measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, the country was already facing significant social and economic issues before, so the impact of COVID-19 on Venezuela compounded on preexisting issues of economic instability, and health and food insecurity and recovery has been slow.

In Venezuela, even though minimum wage has been increased numerous times over the past few years, wage increases have not been following inflation. Therefore, purchasing power is weak and has greatly decreased in recent years; poverty has increased and the health system is in critical state. The unemployment rate has been rising for years, and the IMF estimated that this rate has surpassed half of the Venezuelan workforce. Nevertheless, the state has not released an official unemployment figure since 2016, when it claimed it was 7.3%. Furthermore, the country also faces a rise of insecurity, with the highest homicide rate in South America. Because of the country's current economic situation, there are severe shortages of basic goods, such as food and medicine - with Venezuela being among the countries with the highest rates of food insecurity in the world. As such, neighbouring countries have been receiving a large number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in recent years, with estimates suggesting that over 6 million people have left the country so far.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 92.1092.2197.680.000.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 8.04.04.50.00.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,4223,4743,69200
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 159.50.00.00.00.0
Inflation Rate (%) n/a360.0200.00.00.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 0.00.00.00.00.0
Current Account (billions USD) 3.312.023.320.000.00
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.62.23.40.00.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Venezuelan Bolivar (VEF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS n/an/an/an/an/a

2015

 

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Latest Update: December 2023