May 28, 2019 / 11:50 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-In rare release of economy data, Venezuela reports sharp GDP contraction

(Recasts with context, adds figures released by congress)

CARACAS, May 28 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s central bank on Tuesday reported a sharp contraction of third-quarter gross domestic product, its first release of economic data in nearly four years by a nation struggling under hyperinflation and migration exodus of millions of citizens.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro halted the publication of economic indicators in 2015 as the OPEC nation’s socialist system began to unravel in response to the global decline in oil prices.

The economy contracted 22.5% percent in Q3 2018 with respect to the same period in 2017, according to data posted on the bank’s website, which did not provide a full-year 2018 figure.

Oil export earnings dropped to $29.8 billion in 2018 from $31.5 billion in 2017, according to the figures.

Monthly inflation in April 2019 was 33.8%, while 2018 full-year inflation reached 130,060%, the bank said.

Those figures are lower than those provided by the opposition-controlled congress, which in 2017 began releasing its own economic data in response to the official silence.

Congress reported April inflation of 44.7% and 2018 full-year inflation of 1.7 million percent. (Reporting by Mayela Armas, Deisy Buitrago and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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