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Venezuela's Jan-Oct inflation 826 pct - National Assembly

Kitco News

CARACAS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Inflation in Venezuela's crisis-hit economy was 826 percent in the 10 months to October and may end 2017 above 1,400 percent, the opposition-controlled National Assembly said on Friday.

The government stopped releasing price data more than a year ago but congress has published its own figures since January and they have been close to private economists' estimates.

As well as the alarming Jan-Oct cumulative rise, the legislative body, which has been sidelined by President Nicolas Maduro's government, put monthly inflation at 45.5 percent for October, compared with 36.3 percent in September.

Opponents say Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have wrecked a once-prosperous economy with 18 years of state-led socialist policies from nationalizations to currency controls.

The government says it is victim of an "economic war" including speculation and hoarding by pro-opposition businessmen, combined with U.S. sanctions and the fall in global oil prices from mid-2014. OPEC member Venezuela relies on crude oil for more than 95 percent of its export revenues.

Prices in Venezuela, which has long had one of the highest inflation rates in the world, rose 180.9 percent in 2015 and 274 percent in 2016, according to official figures, although many economists believe the real data was worse. Announcing the October calculations, opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado told the National Assembly that inflation next year could reach 12,000 percent.

"This is dramatic, this is Venezuelans' big problem, it's what keeps workers awake at night, it's what's killing the people with hunger," Alvarado said.

In a research note this week, New York-based Torino Capital estimated Venezuela's 2017 inflation would be 1,032 percent.

A central bank spokeswoman could not provide official data.

(Reporting by Andreina Aponte and Andrew Cawthorne; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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