VIO News Blog

November 14, 2008

Venezuelan Planning Minister Expects Growth to Rebound by Year’s End

Venezuela’s third quarter economic growth was 4.6 percent, the country’s slowest since 2003, according to the AP today. Venezuelan Planning Minister El Troudi said he expects growth to rebound to 6 percent for the end of 2008. The dip is hardly a surprise, though; last month, in light of the world economic crisis, the World Bank scaled back its 2009 growth projections for the entire Latin American region from an estimated 4.2 percent to a more modest 2.5 to 3.5 percent growth. Last year, Venezuela’s GDP rose by 8.4 percent.

The size of Venezuela’s foreign currency reserves was wrongly reported by Oxford Analytica yesterday, which cited $40 million instead of $40 billion. The error was repeated in this roundup, but has now been corrected in the article shown below. It states: “the evidence does not seem to indicate that Venezuela’s economy is under immediate threat from declining oil prices.” In related news, Reuters reports that the price of oil will ultimately rebound after dropping by 60 percent in the last four months. An analyst said: “Whatever the low is, the price won’t stay there for very long.”

Russian President Medvedev will visit Venezuela this month, along with Brazil and Cuba, according to the AP. The IPS reports that economic relations between Russia and Venezuela have been “revved up,” and that bilateral relations have gained importance. The countries recently initiated joint explorations for offshore natural gas. Russian oil firms are also helping to produce oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco River Belt. According to an expert: “Venezuela is pursuing agreements with Russian oil firms because they have the scope, resources and capacity to make progress in the Belt.”

The Latinobarometro survey of Latin American attitudes toward democracy is released today. The Economist shows some results, which indicate that Venezuelans are the region’s second-most satisfied with the functioning of democracy in their country. More than a third of Venezuelan respondents said that inequalities have diminished.  President Chavez, whose legitimacy as a democratic leader is underscored in the survey, is nonetheless categorized as a “strongman” by the Economist.

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