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Venezuelan bolivar continues its free fall

Fathom Consulting

09 Aug 2017

People buy food and other staple goods inside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, July 25, 2017. Photographer: Ueslei Marcelino
People buy food and other staple goods inside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, July 25, 2017. Photographer: Ueslei Marcelino

As the crisis in Venezuela deepens, this chart from Fathom Consulting highlights how some bank notes in the South American country are no longer worth the paper they are printed on.

All commentary and opinion is that of Fathom Consulting and any views expressed are not those of Thomson Reuters.

Three years ago, one US dollar was officially worth six Venezuelan bolivars. Unofficially, on the black market, one US dollar was worth sixty Venezuelan bolivars.

How times have changed.

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Now the Venezuelan currency is worth less than the pretend gold used in the game ‘World of Warcraft’ — the bolivar having fallen more than 145% against the dollar on the black market in the past month alone.

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Toilet roll bonuses

You now need almost 19,000 bolivars to buy one dollar on the black market, making one bolivar worth less than one-hundredth of a cent.

In Venezuela, turning a piece of paper into a low-denomination bank note actually reduces its value.

People queue at an ATM of a bank to withdraw cash in Caracas, Venezuela August 7, 2017. Photographer: Ueslei Marcelino
People queue at an ATM of a bank to withdraw cash in Caracas, Venezuela August 7, 2017. Photographer: Ueslei Marcelino

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Low-denomination bank notes literally are not worth the paper they are printed on.

This point is emphasized by the fact that Venezuelan police are apparently paid bonuses in the currency of toilet rolls rather than bolivars, the former being more valuable.

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Inflation surge

The currency’s decline means that Venezuela’s minimum wage is now worth just $1.50 per week, despite numerous hikes by the government in recent months.

Inflation is in triple digits, exacerbated by the currency’s fall as well as a rapid rise in money supply — up 10 percent in just one week last month.

A thousand dollars of local currency purchased when President Nicolas Maduro came to power in April 2013 would now be worth just $1.34.

Thomson Reuters Datastream is a powerful financial time series database that allows you to identify and examine trends, generate and test ideas and develop view points on the market
Thomson Reuters Datastream is a powerful financial time series database that allows you to identify and examine trends, generate and test ideas and develop view points on the market

Want more charts and analysis? Access a pre-built library of charts built by Fathom Consulting via Datastream Chartbook in Thomson Reuters Eikon.

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