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    Venezuela Economy 2000

      Economy - overview: Venezuelan officials estimate the economy contracted 7.2% in 1999. A steep downturn in international oil prices during the first half of the year fueled the recession, and spurred the CHAVEZ administration to abide by OPEC-led production cuts in an effort to raise world oil prices. The petroleum sector dominates the economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of export earnings, and more than half of government operating revenues. Higher oil prices during the second half 1999 took pressure off the budget and currency; the bolivar is widely believed to be overvalued by as much as 50%. Despite higher oil prices, the economy remains in the doldrums, possibly due to investor uncertainty over President CHAVEZ's reform agenda. Implementing legislation for the new constitution will not be passed until the second half of 2000, after a new legislature is elected. With the president's economic cabinet attempting to reconcile a wide range of views, the country's economic reform program has largely stalled. The government is seeking international assistance to finance reconstruction after massive flooding and landslides in December 1999 caused an estimated $15 billion to $20 billion in damage.

      GDP: purchasing power parity - $182.8 billion (1999 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate: -7.2% (1999 est.)

      GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,000 (1999 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector:
      agriculture: 4%
      industry: 63%
      services: 33% (1997 est.)

      Population below poverty line: 67% (1997 est.)

      Household income or consumption by percentage share:
      lowest 10%: 1.5%
      highest 10%: 35.6% (1995)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 20% (1999)

      Labor force: 9.9 million (1999)

      Labor force - by occupation: services 64%, industry 23%, agriculture 13% (1997 est.)

      Unemployment rate: 18% (1999 est.)

      Budget:
      revenues: $26.4 billion
      expenditures: $27 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

      Industries: petroleum, iron ore mining, construction materials, food processing, textiles, steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly

      Industrial production growth rate: 0.5% (1995 est.)

      Electricity - production: 70.39 billion kWh (1998)

      Electricity - production by source:
      fossil fuel: 25.46%
      hydro: 74.54%
      nuclear: 0%
      other: 0% (1998)

      Electricity - consumption: 65.463 billion kWh (1998)

      Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

      Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

      Agriculture - products: corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish

      Exports: $20.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

      Exports - commodities: petroleum, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures (1998)

      Exports - partners: US and Puerto Rico 57%, Colombia, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Italy (1999)

      Imports: $11.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

      Imports - commodities: raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials (1999)

      Imports - partners: US 53%, Japan, Colombia, Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada (1999)

      Debt - external: $32 billion (1999)

      Economic aid - recipient: $35 million with more assistance likely as a result of flooding (1999)

      Currency: 1 bolivar (Bs) = 100 centimos

      Exchange rates: bolivares (Bs) per US$1 - 652.333 (January 2000), 605.717 (1999), 547.556 (1998), 488.635 (1997), 417.333 (1996), 176.843 (1995)

      Fiscal year: calendar year

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