January 13, 2009

Inflation above 30 percent in Venezuela

Inflation zoomed to nearly 31 percent in Venezuela last year but President Hugo Chavez indicated Tuesday he will hold steady in his economic course.

The socialist leader acknowledged in his annual state of the nation address that the 30.9 percent rate was high in relation with the countries of the region. But he appeared intent on putting economic growth first, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported.

All the gains achieved under his rule would be lost if the counter-revolution took power, he said.

As long as I am president there will be more power for the people (and) social justice, Chavez said.

The 2008 inflation spike came after a 22.5 percent rate in 2007 and was even higher than the 27 percent Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque had estimated it would be last month, the Herald Tribune said.