Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review: the year statistics became meaningless

As I have been writing this series of 2013 posts it seems that the gods are with me and that everyday I am getting a fresh new evidence to strengthen my point. Today the Central Bank, BCV, finally released November inflation number, almost a month late, AND December inflation, a day EARLY!

Quickly the numbers were criticized, but even faster went down the reputation of the BCV who did not offered a press conference to announce, not even a Youtube moment. Just like the devaluation to 11,3 of a week ago, it was through a lousy written communique full of political idiocy that we got the numbers.  I am not going to go into the details of the communique: there is an excellent on the moment piece by Angel Alayon for those who can read Spanish or use Google Translate. Let's just say that the BCV has lost any credibility it had left, and as such has joined the rest of governmental stuff that has lost any functional independence and are only there to prop up the regime trying to hide its mistakes and errors.

For quite a few years one by one all Venezuelan "institutions" have stopped emitting verifiable, audit-able, reports. If they even bother to present them. We have learned that Cuban medics were forced to write down more pasts than what they actually saw in their offices. We saw the national institute for statistics blithely claiming ridiculous numbers for unemployment when we all know that half of the population is underemployed, without proper registry and even less social security and the like.  PDVSA itself has stopped for, I think, three years publishing its accounts and actual production numbers. All what we know is indirect calculations. Only the BCV maintained some semi professional approach to things though clearly they were trying to massage their numbers a little bit when possible.

We suspect now from reading the BCV communique that its written style betrays a different origin than the BCV board. Maybe some political employees that decided to postpone publication until they could accompany it with something less damaging? A ministry?  Has the BCV board been directly bypassed? Did they refuse to sign on it?  Whatever it is, one thing is certain is that there are no more semi reliable economic figures in Venezuela.


But we are in a dictatorial regime, why should we care about numbers?

NOTE. Since I started with inflation I might as well put the numbers down. If we are to believe the regime inflation was 4,8% in November and the regime congratulates itself that it went down to 2,2% in December courtesy of the so called economic measures of last November. Serious folks do not buy it, of course, and I join them. The more so that the BCV has not released the scarcity index which only proves this one is hovering around 30%. This means that if you go to the market with a list of 10 items to buy for everyday use, you will not find more than 7 in a given store. Think about that for a second.

At any rate, Miguel Angel Santos posted the perfect graph to close this entry: the annualized monthly inflation rate of Venezuela in recent years. That is, not the monthly rate but the annual rate for each month. Separated in blue for general inflation and orange for the food inflation. No comments are needed, but an observation: observe how the whole thing went to the dogs after Chavez reelection in October 2012. In short, they bankrupted the country to have Chavez reelected and then they had nothing left but to pay the price. Or rather, have the hoi polloi pay the price through inflation.

Note that in the real word of business we all think these numbers to be higher.

Further note: courtesy of Canuck I am adding this link to El Mundo which observes many unusual and lacking parameters,  that even the font used is unusual!!!!  Me thinks some inside the BCV did not want to sign the report imposed from above and some hack report was put together at the last minute before the year ends.


  1. Island Canuck12:54 PM

    Daniel, you may bge interested in this related article:


    1. Thanks! I have included it in the post!

    2. El Chigüire also has an economic paper worth visiting ;-)



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