Venezuelan inflation rates have soared during the past year, reaching a new grand total of 213.2 percent.
In June of this year, inflation was reported at 16.1 percent, the second-highest rate reported this year. Yet, more bad news, as it could be set to increase by 115.9 percent by the end of 2015, El Nacional reports.
Even worse, one analyst, Miguel Octavio, has created an inflation index for his favorite corn street-food snack: the arepa.
During recent trips back home to Venezuela, Octavio found that the price of his beloved arepas continued to rise.
“Latin America has had more problems due to inflation than any other region in the world,” Claudio Loser, ex-director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) commented.
Inflation has seen many Venezuelans tighten their belts. The bolivar has lost 90 percent of its black market value during the past 12 months, where a dollar is sold at 100 times more than the official exchange rate, of 6.3 bolivars per dollar.
Pollsters Cenda, based in Caracas, have found that between May and June the prices of many basics (food, rice, diapers) increased by 20 percent.
“In my house we don’t eat beans any more,”Jesenia Zambrano, owner of a small kiosk in downtown Caracas added.
Black market trades
Venezuela has even seen the rise of basic goods being traded on the black market, with the rise of “bachaqueo” traders.
The word “bachaqueo” refers to a kind of ant found along the Colombia-Venezuela border.
A kilo of chicken should cost 65 bolivars, but it is often sold for close to 600 bolivars in small butchers.
More importantly, a kilo of pre-cooked Harina Pan arepa flour costs 19 bolivars on the regulated markets, whereas desperate Venezuelans will pay up to 100 bolivars on the bachaqueo market.
As the country waits with baited breath for its December 6 elections, high prices and over-inflation look set to plague fridges and store cupboards for the next few months.