(Corrects import and export data in the 11th paragraph to clarify that 2014 figures were for first nine months, not whole year; adds footnote about 2014 GDP figure in third paragraph)
CARACAS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s government said Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 4.0 percent in 2014, the worst performance around Latin America, according to a filing on Wednesday in the United States.
In its filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, President Nicolas Maduro's government said the OPEC nation's petroleum sector expanded 0.3 percent last year, whereas the non-petroleum sector decreased 3.8 percent. (1.usa.gov/1j1qteQ)
The data, however, had a footnote saying they were 2014 figures “where available”, leading some economists to conclude they were actually only figures for the first three quarters.
Maduro had said earlier this year that GDP shrank 3 percent last year.
The central bank, however, has given no GDP breakdown for the fourth quarter of 2014, or any figures at all for 2015, to the anger of opponents and consternation of economists.
Inflation was 68.5 percent.
Most economists predict a similar or worse GDP performance this year, with even higher inflation.
Venezuela makes the filing to the SEC because it is an issuer of dollar-denominated bonds.
Maduro says domestic political foes and opposition-aligned businessmen have been deliberately sabotaging Venezuela’s economy via hoarding, price-gouging, smuggling and other means.
But critics say 16 years of hardline socialist policies, including price and currency controls plus hostility toward the private sector, are behind Venezuela’s economic woes.
The plunge in oil prices, which account for 96 percent of hard-currency revenues, has also hit Venezuela hard.
Imports were $32.15 billion in the first nine months of last year, compared with $53.02 billion in the whole of 2013, according to the filing.
Export revenue was $60.50 billion between January-September of 2014 compared with $88.96 billion throughout the previous year.
The filing confirmed ally China had loaned Venezuela more than $55 billion since 2007 in loans to be repaid with oil shipments.
“The Republic agreed a U.S.$10.0 billion loan with China in March 2015, and a further U.S.$5.0 billion loan with China in September 2015, to be used to finance oil projects,” it added of the most recent components of that total. (Reporting by Eyanir Chinea and Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)