Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/29/2014 -- The victory of Nicolas Maduro of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela in April will most probably ensure the continuity of many of the interventionist policies of Chavez's era. Price fixing in particular continues to be a source of woe for producers unable to meet input costs, which are soaring in line with some of the highest rates of inflation in the world. Some respite has arrived in the form of a 20% rise in the government-fixed price of food items including beef, chicken and dairy products, but even this will fall short of the rate of inflation, which is expected to increase 30% year-on-year in 2013. Inflation is also contributing to the diminishing purchasing power of Venezuelan households, while foreign currency shortages after a pre-election spending boom are causing shortages of some imported goods.
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- Corn consumption growth to 2018: 17.4% to 4.28mn tonnes. Consumers hit by economic turmoil will turn to the cheapest staple food, more than compensating for reduced demand from the livestock sector.
- Coffee production growth to 2017/18: 35.6% to 990,000 60kg bags. The hike in government prices and increased investment in small farms will see some recovery in supply.
- Beef production growth to 2017/18: 3.5% to 367,500 tonnes. High input costs, cheaper Mercosur competitors and reduced domestic demand will stymie growth.
- BMI universe agribusiness market value: US$3.70bn in 2014 (up 0.3% from US$3.69bn in 2013; forecast to grow annually by 5.8% on average from 2014 to 2018).
- 2014 real GDP growth: 1.2% (up from 0.8% in 2013; forecast to grow annually by 2.6% on average between 2014 and 2018).
- 2014 consumer price index: 50.0% year-on-year (y-o-y) (up from 44.8% in 2013; forecast to grow annually by 31.3% on average between 2014 and 2018).
While public unrest in Venezuela is on the rise, we do not believe that the recent large-scale protests staged by student and political opposition groups present an existential threat to the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. The protests are unlikely to do damage to the PSUV government in the near term, given that the party's supporters, not to mention the military, have not lost faith in the Maduro administration.
However, over the longer term this is not guaranteed to remain the case, and we could see the political situation deteriorate if the government does not do enough to address soaring inflation and worsening shortages which affect all segments of society.
Growth in Venezuela will continue to be constrained in 2014, as soaring inflation impacts household purchasing power, oil production stagnates, and private sector investment remains wary of a hostile operating environment. We are forecasting real GDP growth of 1.5% in 2014, down from 2.0% estimated for 2013.
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