Venezuela's economy is set to contract by 1.2% in 2023, according to an independent agency

Caracas, February 2 (EFE).- Venezuela's economy fell by 1.2% last year compared to 2022, when it grew by 12.1%, according to figures released this Friday by the Venezuelan Financial Observatory (OVF), an independent agency outside the Central Bank. Composed by economists.

The information contradicts official data, which showed a “comprehensive” increase of more than 5% by 2023, the “highest growth in Latin America and the Caribbean,” President Nicolás Maduro said in January, without specifying a percentage.

For its part, the OVF assured in a press release this Friday that the Venezuelan economy had “normal performance” in 2023, due in large part to a drop in consumption and a “real contraction in government spending.” , which had a negative impact on production and business activities.

Thus, according to OVF, the non-oil sector recorded a 10% decline last year.

On the other hand, according to the calculations of the laboratory, the oil activity has a growth of 12.4% compared to 2022.

The country produced an average of 783,000 barrels (bpd) of oil in 2023, a 9.3% increase compared to 2022, when it pumped an average of 716,000, and will exceed one million this year, according to figures.

The OVF noted that the South American country experienced a “prolonged recession starting in the fourth quarter of 2014 and ending in the second quarter of 2021,” after which the national economy “entered a recovery phase” reaching its best. First half of 2022.

This year, experts predict moderate economic growth and high inflation, although “reduced” compared to last year, which was 189.8%.

However, the projections are subject to developments in key scenarios in the country, such as presidential elections scheduled for the second half of the year and US sanctions policy, which has already warned it plans to resume oil and gas embargoes. April if Nicolás Maduro's government does not allow opposition Maria Corina Machado to run in these elections.

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