Venezuela GDP shrank 4.2 pct through third quarter, opposition says
By Corina Pons and Eyanir Chinea
CARACAS Dec 9 (Reuters) - Venezuela's economy shrank by 4.2 percent in the first three quarters of 2014, an adviser to the country's main opposition group said on Tuesday, after almost a year of official silence about the state of the OPEC nation's economy.
The central bank has not published any GDP data for this year and has not revealed inflation figures since August's 63.4 percent 12-month reading, spurring criticism that President Nicolas Maduro is hiding bad economic news.
"The central bank has not given figures but I'm going to give them to you," Jose Guerra, a former central bank director who now works as an adviser to the opposition's Democratic Unity coalition, told a news conference.
"GDP dropped by 4.4 percent in the first quarter, 4.4 percent in the second quarter and 3.5 percent in the third quarter," he said, yielding a drop of 4.2 percent for the first nine months of the year.
Venezuela's economy grew 1.3 percent in 2013.
Guerra said the 2014 data was discussed at a central bank board of directors meeting, but did not say how he got it.
He served as the central bank's head of economic research but left in 2005, protesting interference by then President Hugo Chavez's government.
The central bank did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The information ministry, which handles media requests for the finance ministry, also did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. Continuación...