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Venezuela's Economy Grew by 5.6% in 2012, Exceeding Expectations

Nine Straight Quarters of Growth:

The economy of Venezuela continues to expand, registering 5.5% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the October through December period of last year and total growth for 2012 of 5.6%.

The end of last year marked the ninth straight quarter of growth for the Venezuelan economy, according to the Central Bank of Venezuela, which presented its initial estimates for this year’s GDP performance in a press release. The GDP measures the value of the production of goods and services.

The Central Bank attributes the economic expansion to various factors including increased sales of primary materials imported from abroad that went toward production, consumption and investment; increased financing by banks; and the positive impact of the Great Housing Mission (a government program that provides homes for needy families) on the construction industry and other sectors. 

Fourth quarter growth in 2012 was marked by an expansion of private sector business as well as non-oil activity.

The private sector grew saw 5.6% growth, while the public sector grew by 3.7%. The private sector has grown for the last eight consecutive quarters, primarily fueled by the industries of construction, finance, commerce, communications and manufacturing.

Meanwhile, public sector growth has occurred for the last 10 quarters, led by communications, oil, commerce, financial services and government services in general.

Non-oil activity grew by 5.4% in the last quarter of 2012, while oil industry growth was recorded at 1.1%.

The Central Bank stated that the majority of non-oil activities, oriented primarily toward domestic consumption and investment, showed a growth in their “value added,” which is the value acquired by goods and services during their transformation in the productive process.

The non-oil industries with the greatest growth in late 2012 were financial institutions (+33.9%), construction (+10%), commerce (+9.8%), community services (+7.9%), communications, (+7.2%), government services (+4.9%), electricity and water (+6.5%), transportation and storage (+5.4%), business services (+4.7%), and manufacturing (+1.1%).

Growth of Agriculture

The manufacturing industry continues to show signs of recuperation, with a 2.4% increase in the volume of production by the private sector in the fourth quarter of 2012, which makes six consecutive quarters of growth.

The fastest-growing areas of manufacturing were paper (+25.3%), wood products (+15.7%), leather (+12.6%), furniture (+8.8%), clothing (+6.7%), metals (+6%), food and beverages and tobacco (+5.9%), and rubber and plastic (+2.3%).

Contractions were seen in machinery and electrical equipment (-13.5%), chemical products (-10%), vehicles (-6.2%), non-metallic minerals (-4.8%), machinery and equipment (-1.3%), editing and printing (-1.3%), and metal products (-1.1%).

In the food industry, production was driven by the greater availability of primary materials and imported items. Meat processing and preservation grew 5.7%, wheat processing grew 3%, bread production grew 26.2%, and dairy production grew 4.6%.

Public cement companies continued to register growth, reaching 7.7% expansion, primarily driven by the greater demand for construction materials due to the government’s Great Housing Mission of Venezuela, which built 200,080 homes in 2012.

AVN/ Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S./ February 28, 2013

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