CARACAS – Venezuela’s economy may be getting some stability after a sensational collapse in 2013 after registering a significant rise in imports, which have reached their highest level since Washington starting imposing sanctions on the oil-rich South American nation, according to data by Venezuela’s key trading partners released last week.
However, Sergi Lanau, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance (IIF), said that imports continue to be extremely low in absolute terms.
Lanau pointed out that the main change lies in the financial collapse of the government of leftist incumbent Nicolás Maduro, which has put a burden on the nation’s struggling private sector concerning the supply for products and services in the framework of a harsh economic depression.
Government officials and economists in line with the regime have welcomed the phenomenon as an example of “overcoming the rentier state model,” pontificated by chavismo for long years, but that was taken to extremes during the oil boom between 2004 and 2012, a period during which public resources boosted imports to more than $60 billion when they currently reach $5 billion in annual terms.
Imports in Venezuela decreased to $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2019 from $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to official figures by the Central Bank of Venezuela.
In 2015, former US President, Barack Obama signed and issued a presidential order declaring Venezuela a "threat to its national security" and ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, and four years later the Donald Trump administration imposed new additional sanctions on Venezuela, ordering a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the US and barred transactions with US citizens and companies.