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Report: IMF stops work on Venezuela's economic figures


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Report: IMF stops work on Venezuela's economic figures

The International Monetary Fund stopped working on Venezuela's economic figures in January because of doubts surrounding the legitimacy of the country's government, Reuters reported, citing a spokesperson for the multilateral lender.

The report comes a few days after Venezuela's central bank published key economic indices for the first time since 2016. Despite the statistical blackout, Venezuela sent key figures to the IMF in November 2018 so as not to be expelled from the multilateral agency.

According to the IMF spokesperson, officials under President Nicolás Maduro initiated the release of the economic data and were not influenced by the international institution to do so.

However, the spokesperson said the IMF could not fully determine the quality of the recently released economic figures, which, among other things, pointed to inflation of 130,000% in 2018 and a 22.5% GDP contraction for the 12-month period that ended in October of that year. The IMF expected the country's inflation to have hit 1,370,000% in 2018.

"We cannot offer a view on data quality as we have not had the opportunity to make a full assessment in the absence of contacts with the authorities," the spokesperson noted.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country's interim president in January amid widespread protests against Maduro due to a crippling economic crisis, rampant inflation, and food and medicine shortages. More than 30 nations have recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president, including the U.S., which placed sanctions on the country's central bank in April.