Venezuela’s Hyperinflation & Dollarization

    Feb 17, 2020 @ 01:53 AM / by Alex Davis


    From the AIRINC archives: Caracas, Venezuela during an on-site cost-of-living survey.

    Legal Currency in Venezuela 

    For years, Venezuela’s currency (currently the VES, was VEF) was the only currency legal to use within the country. However, with hyperinflation and a rapidly depreciating currency, using the VES was often difficult. Although not technically legal, transactions would often still occur using U.S. dollars, as it is a stable currency.

    During an interview aired on the television network Televen on November 17th, President Maduro appeared to accept and even welcome U.S. dollar transactions. For the first time, Maduro referred to dollarization as something that could help Venezuela economically. In fact, recent reports have even indicated that more than 50% of current transactions are in USD. Our November surveys of Venezuela have also seen a larger percentage of samples priced in USD.

    The rise in USD transactions has also coincided with the appearance of dollar stores, known locally as ‘Bodegones’. These stores are generally small and import items directly from U.S. retailers, which allows them to evade sanctions and regulations imposed by the government. As a result, these stores can obtain greater availability of specific items and brands than their established counterparts.


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    Topics: Currency Volatility, foreign currencies, Goods & Services, Data Points, Venezuela, Currency Devaluations, Insights and Experience, Caracas, Site Summaries, economic volatility

    Alex Davis

    Written by Alex Davis