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Venezuela inflation rate hits 30%, highest in Latin America
USA Today

Venezuela’s annual inflation rate has surpassed 30% after consumer prices surged in April.

The Central Bank and National Statistics Institute on Friday reported a 5.2% increase in consumer prices during April, driving up the annual rate to 30.4%.

President Hugo Chavez’s government has been struggling against the highest inflation rate in Latin America and a weakening economy in general.

Prices increased 11.3% from January to April, up from 6.7% inflation in the same 2009 period. Venezuela’s economy shrank by 3.3% last year amid a downturn in its all-important oil industry. It’s the nation’s first recession since 2003.

The country imports most of its food, and Chavez on Friday announced the government will create an import-export corporation aiming to break with the private sector’s « hegemony. » It wasn’t immediately clear how the new state entity would operate.

Chavez said wealthy Venezuelans involved in the import business « buy abroad, come here and ask for more than it really costs. »