Government Releases Economic Indicator Estimates for 2004

Venezuela’s GNP will increase by 6% in 2004

According to the National Budget Office, Venezuela’s GNP will increase by 6% in 2004. Most of this rise is due to the recovery of the oil sector, which is expected to increase by 13% next year. The non-oil sector of the economy is expected to increase by 3.5%.

According to Alfredo Pardo Acosta, president of the National Budget Office, all these figures are based on an average price of oil of $18 per barrel, projected for 2004.

The economic cabinet, which consists of the ministers of Planning and Development; Commerce and Production; Finance; Energy and Mines; and Science and Technology, is basing its calculations for the 2004 budget on these figures.

Other figures it is using are an inflation rate of 29% and a currency devaluation of 20.3%. That is, the exchange rate is expected to average 1,925 bolivars per dollar for 2004, ending at 2,020 bolivars per dollar. These figures imply a loosening of the currency controls, either via a devalued controlled currency exchange or a legalized floating currency exchange, parallel to an official rate.

On October 15, the 2004 budget will be presented before the National Assembly for approval.

With information from El Nacional and Venpres