July 10, 2019 / 3:53 PM / 8 days ago

Venezuela inflation rate drops again -- to 445,482%

CARACAS, July 10 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s monthly inflation rate fell for the second straight month in June, but the annual rate remained above 400,000% and workers’ salaries are still not enough to cover the rising cost of consumer goods in the collapsing economy, an opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Consumer prices rose 24.8% last month, down from 31.3% in May, according to the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which publishes inflation measurements in the absence of regular official economic data from President Nicolas Maduro’s government or the central bank.

That brought the 12-month inflation rate down to 445,482% from 815,194% in May and rates of more than 2 million percent earlier this year. The drop comes as the central bank has hiked banks’ reserve requirements to restrict liquidity, and as the exchange rate has been relatively stable.

“Those actions do not resolve the problem,” opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado told reporters. “A worker’s salary can buy just 3.5 percent of the basic food basket.”

Venezuela’s official minimum wage is 40,000 bolivars per month, the equivalent of some $5.60. The oil-rich nation is suffering a humanitarian crisis marked by chronic shortages of food and medicine that has prompted more than 4 million to emigrate.

The central bank in May broke a nearly four-year silence on official economic data by publishing statistics showing an inflation rate of 33.8 percent in April. (Reporting by Mayela Armas and Luc Cohen; Editing by David Gregorio)

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