The Centro de Documentación y Análisis Social de la Federación Venezolana de Maestros (CENDAS) released its monthly cost of living figures today, which show that a Venezuelan family living on the minimum monthly salary must earn 95.6 times their income in order to meet basic dietary needs in the month of February.

According to the figures, a Venezuelan family of five must earn Bs. 37,517,912.13 to be able to afford the basic nutritious food basket. The current minimum monthly salary is Bs. 392,646.00 per month.

CENDAS updates its figures each month. The February numbers show an increase of 53.7% from January, highlighting the severity of the inflationary crisis currently affecting Venezuela.

According to CENDAS, the prices of the 58 products that it tracks all increased in February. Below, a selection of food staples and their corresponding price increase in February from January:

  • Cereal and cereal products: 141.3% increase
  • Mayonnaise: 66.5% increase
  • Cooking oil: 102.9% increase
  • Coffee: 69.6% increase
  • Fish and shellfish: 63.1% increase
  • Milk, cheese and eggs: 54.4% increase
  • Fruits and vegetables: 52.7% increase
  • Meat products: 23.6% increase

Just last week, vice president Tarek El Aissami said during an address at the Constituent Assembly that Maduro government was working tirelessly to eliminate poverty in Venezuela, and that the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty in 2017 fell to 4.4%.

El Aissami’s extreme poverty figures are irreconcilable with the economic reality of the country as evidenced primarily through the inflation rate. According to the National Assembly, the inflation rate for 2017 was 2,616%, the highest on the planet.

China Steps Back from Lender Role

Reuters reported today that “sources in Caracas and Beijing” involved in financial negotiations between the two countries have said that China is likely not going to provide Venezuela with any new cash as it attempts to scale back its financial exposure to the country’s debt.

The publication is reporting that the China Development Bank is likely to give the Maduro regime another extension on its debt obligations.

Over the last ten years, China has injected $50 billion into the Maduro regime, and now appears unwilling to lend any more money to Caracas.

Reuters cites an unnamed “Chinese oil industry source” on the matter, who said:

Given Venezuela’s falling oil production, it’s natural for Chinese banks not to renew loans.

On whether or not Beijing’s patience on outstanding debt is likely to run out soon, the Reuters article says the following:

A second oil industry source, asked if the conditions would be tightened, cited a Chinese proverb, saying China would not “drop stones on somebody who has fallen into a well.”

Venezuela owes China a total of $19.3 billion, and currently has approximately $9.3 billion in reserves.

U.S. Arrests Iranian Citizen With Venezuelan Link

United States authorities have arrested the Iranian chair of a Maltese bank after the man allegedly circumvented U.S. financial sanctions against Iran through a Venezuelan company.

According to federal prosecutors, an Iranian construction company incorporated by Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad accepted $115 million from Venezuelan sources for the construction of homes in the country. The money was processed through U.S. financial institutions after Nejad “took steps” to hide the the destination of the money.

The prosecutors claim that the money, which was destined for Iranian International Housing Corporation, was funneled into “entities in Switzerland and Turkey” in an attempt to circumvent sanctions prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from conducting business with Iranian entities.

Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad was arrested on Monday in the United States.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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