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The Economy Is In Decline Archives

January 9, 2007

What Newsweek Left Out of the Zogby Story: Part II

The economic questions are fascinating. (See the previous post for links to the raw numbers)

Economic Optimism
> The question of whether a country’s economy is expected to sink or swim is broken down into a 5-point scale. Newsweek reports that the Peruvians were the most optimistic, which is true, if you add the “improve greatly” and “improve somewhat.” They score a remarkable 95.1%, followed by Brazilians (89.0%) and Venezuelans (85.0%) Hell, even those stoic Chileans gave it a go with 75.6%. Mexico trailed with 69.4%

> But if you are looking for super-optimists, you’ve got to go with the Venezuelans. Their “improve greatly” numbers kicked butt at 60.0%. Distant runners up here were the Peruvians (33.8%) and the Colombians (23.6%). Mexico drew up the rear with 11.2%

Taxes, the Courts & Foreign Investment
> When asked to rate their country’s performance in tax reform targeted to encouraging foreign investment, Venezuelan elites are way more pleased than their neighbors. A full 43.8% Venezuelan view tax reforms as “good” or “very good,” far ahead of runners-up Peru (31.3%) and Colombia (28.8%). Brazil and, predictably, Mexico, trailed with 22.0% scores. Keep in mind, recent tax reforms mean the elites are actually paying their taxes for a change in Venezuela

>
When asked to rate government performance on “reforming taxes to facilitate distribution/marketing foreign goods,” the escualidos again lead the happy-pack. Almost half (47%) say “good” or “very good,” while everyone else hovers around a quarter, ranging from 28.0% among Chileans down to 21.3% with Colombians.

>
With the question of “reforming the legal system to facilitate foreign investment,” It’s Venezuela on top again, with 41.4% approval, followed by Colombia (37.5%) and Argentina at the end (27.1%)

The good times are rolling in the Venezuelan import/export biz. Brought to you by those who know.

January 16, 2007

The Man Wants to Keep Your Portfolio Under-Performing

So the State Department wants you to take your investment dollars out of Venezuela, what with all their socialism and stuff. They actually say that Venezuela is “hindering progress.” You almost need an English to 50’s translation dictionary.

But actual investors live in a post-McCarthy world. Online investment rag Motley Fool ranks Venezuela in its “10 Best Places to Invest” survey. At number 2, the Bolivarian Republic gives you a 156% return rate on yo’ dollar.

January 17, 2007

But How Long Will He Last?

Yesterday the Caracas Stock Exchange Index took a dive after a major Venezuelan newspaper reported that the government would soon begin to “regulate” bank profits. Today Banking Superintendent Trino Alcides Diaz was forced to give a press conference explaining that the Venezuelan government has no such plan and that El Nacional is full of crap. Actually, he was way more generous than I would have been, saying that the opposition-aligned newspaper must have “misunderstood” him.

Once again, Bloomberg’s Guillermo Parra-Bernal broke the story. Exactly one week ago today Mr. Parra-Bernal pretty much single-handedly saved Venezuelan stock prices in the US market when broke a similar story about the New York Times and Washington Post being full of their own respective crap. This could turn into an actual beat.

January 26, 2007

Let the Good Times Roll

So unemployment is down to an 8-year low, Venezuelans are buying luxury items like never before, and US businesses are loving the BoRev’s investment climate. Hell, a Hewlett Packard executive calls the Venezuelan government “a good client and a good payer.”

So much for the incompetent pinko meme.

January 27, 2007

Mr. Gorbachev, Rebuild this Wall!

The Washington Post editorial page cares, really cares, about Venezuela, and only wants what’s best for its stupid, ignorant population. They want Chavez out because Venezuela’s democracy is either “dead, dying or in danger,” and because this year its economy, and that of its allies, is doomed. “The people of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba,” it seems “may be headed for a miserable year.”

Wow. Does the Post know something we don’t? Because last time I checked, Venezuela had the fastest-growing economy in Latin America, two years running.

Perhaps they’ve been talking to former Secretary of State (and Halliburton Director) Lawrence Eagleburger, who may have something up his sleeve. Appearing on Fox News last night, this Bush I figure lamented that the Venezuelan economy was not crashing fast enough for his taste.

When asked by David Asman if we should “just wait for the economy to collapse or do we push it in that direction?" Eagleburger replied :

"I think we have to push...anything we can do to make their economy more difficult for them at this moment is a good thing but let's do it in ways that do not get us into direct conflict with Venezuela if we can get away with it."

Hey kids, the cold war is back! Thanks to Newshounds for catching the clip.

UPDATE: A reader informs that "Vzla's economy is fastest growing in Latin America for 3 years running." Not 2. My bad.

February 8, 2007

Investors Heart the BoRev

A reader writes:

Man, you should be paying more attention to us financial guys. What money sez is "f--k the politikos, can we turn a profit" . . .Moody's are the numero unos in ratings (well, equal with fitch and SP). They say PdVSA debt is B1..that's a really good score for anywhere South. They also give "stable" rating. That's very very cool.

PdVSA are about to issue $3.5Bn in bonds...they'll pay 1.15% more than the Federal Reserve minimum lending rate. That's around 1% less than the rest of VZ, and way down on the rest of latam. This is a very neat way the economy ministry of VZ has found of cutting the inflation rate...and it'll work (in the Short term anyway). While oil is $50+, they're laughing. Bottom line: VZ is a good place to do biz.

Yeah, we had no idea what all that meant, either. But through the miracle of Google, we find that Moody’s just ranked Venezuela’s state oil company as a “stable” investment risk, which is pretty remarkable for a Latin American firm. The ranking depends in part on oil prices staying high, but this is far, far away from the “sky is falling” reports that you get from the disgruntled former PDVSA executives who are working the lecture circuit these days.

Of course, there’s not one report on this in the US press. El Universal has the scoop.

February 12, 2007

Math is Hard!

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Yesterday the LA Times reported that Venezuela's “inflation rose in January to an annual rate of more than 25%," which mirrored a Financial Times report from last week that “Venezuela's inflation rate is already running at close to 25 per cent per annum.” Except that it's not. In a mind-blowing cowinkidink, both papers made the exact same math error.

Sure, inflation is on the rise. It might even have something to do with the little fact that Venezuela’s economy is the fastest growing in Latin America, a point neither article acknowledges. But the annual rate is nowhere near 25%. January’s inflation rate was 18%, and the rate for all of 2006 was 13.7%. To jack it up to 25%, both papers took one month’s rate and extrapolated it out. Problem is, that’s not how you calculate “per annum” inflation.

You can sort of accept that the LA Times might make a stupid math mistake, but the Financial Times? Surely they are supposed know something about…uh…financial reporting.

February 17, 2007

Enough Already with the “Food Shortage” Stories

There are parts of the world that have serious food shortages, but Venezuela ain’t one of ‘em. To read the breathless stories this week about Venezuela’s supermarkets, it all sounds positively Soviet. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Venezuelans are starving in the streets or something.

Today’s New York Times doesn’t help matters. You shouldn’t have to read a story three times to figure out what’s going on. It’s ok, though, ‘cause we did. Here’s what’s what:

>> Venezuela has seen a big increase in inflation in the last couple of months. This happens when the economy grows fast, and Venezuela’s economy has been the fastest growing in Latin America for the last few years.

>> The government plans to implement a series of anti-inflation measures that will drive this trend down in the upcoming weeks and months. Overall, it’s a sensible package that goes far beyond “taking zeros off the currency” or whatever BS Bloomberg is reporting.

>> In the meantime, the country has an interest on capping the prices on staple food items to ensure that the poor aren’t priced out of the supermarket.

>> Some supermarkets are retaliating. Some may have legitimate concerns that they won’t make a profit on certain items, but if the past is any predictor, many are trying to stir up controversy (and drive up prices) by hording staple items in warehouses or selling them on the black market.

>> The government is telling horders that what they are doing is illegal. As one reader wrote, you don’t see headlines like “Bush threatens to jail people that steal milk."

>> We’re only talking about certain items that are affected. Although you have to read between the lines to find it, the Times describes these as the best cuts of meat, bags of sugar, and beans. Other items are as available as they always were.

>> This is what the NYT describes as a sugar shortage: “With shoppers limited to just two large packages of sugar, a black market in sugar has developed among street vendors in parts of Caracas.” Two large packages. A Day. That’s a lot of cookies.


Excuse us for not joining the freakout brigade.

February 23, 2007

That Moribund Economy

Remember that Venezuelan economy that Condoleezza Rice was all upset about? It grew just grew again. Almost 12% in the last quarter. Yes, after 3+ years, it’s still the fastest growing in all Latin America. I guess we can all quit worrying now, right?

Well, there are still some wet blankets out there. “Management strategy” assistant professor Michael Penfold argues that “These economic policies don't work” Ok, nerdo.

February 26, 2007

Two Birds, One Stone, and a Loudmouth

The Financial Times cracked me up today. In a little column about the joint Venezuelan-Argentine bond deal, they sort-of half-heartedly criticize it as “clunky,” “Heath-Robinsoneque” (that’s clunky-talk for “complicated”) and not-“new-fangled” enough for their taste. This, from a newspaper that dyes itself pink.

Anyway, these jablets were more out of habit than anything, because the column goes on to describe how brilliant the plan is: it may just drive down Venezuela’s inflation AND increase the BoRev’s influence in the region.

Oh! And don't miss second part, where the FT tells Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to shut up and stop being such a dickhead.

February 28, 2007

The Empire in Decline

Well well. the International Monetary Fund is falling on “hard times.” According to Bloomberg, the ultimate predatory lender has virtually closed up shop in Latin America, as nation by nation has chosen to do business with Venezuela instead. The change has been extreme:


IMF lending in the area has fallen to $50 million, or less than 1 percent of its global portfolio, compared with 80 percent in 2005.

For Venezuela, this has been a cash windfall, as its neighbors are actually paying a higher interest rate than they would have to the IMF. The difference is, Venezuelan loans don’t come with all the crazy strings and harebrained schemes attached. like for example, forcing a country to sell its water to US companies, who then sell it back to poor people at jacked up prices.

How’s it going for the evil geniuses worldwide?

The international lender's worldwide portfolio has shriveled to $11.8 billion from a peak of $81 billion in 2004, and a single nation, Turkey, now accounts for about 75 percent. As its lending wanes, so does the fund's ability to influence government policies.

I guess we’ll have to go back to that old-fashioned “democracy” system now. How quaint.

March 1, 2007

Bonds on Steroids

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If your eyes, like ours, glaze over at the mention of “joint bond issues” and “inflationary pressure,” don’t worry. We’ll keep this short. And we'll post a funny bad-pun picture to distract you.

But we can’t ignore the fact that the joint Venezuela-Argentina bonds are getting snatched up like a pre-Christmas Wii. Great, right? Well, the glass is half empty over at Bloomberg today (shocking, I know), where they’re bitching that there aren’t enough to make all the investors happy. You see, there is “concern” among traders that the $1.5 Billion (with a B) sale is “inadequate to meet surging demand.”

It’s always a no-win game. How negative would those stories have been if demand had been low?

Barry. Hahahahaha.

March 9, 2007

“Serious, Serious Money”

This week’s issue of The Banker goes a long way toward setting the record straight on Venezuela’s economy. As a reader writes, “The Financial Times is read by the people who think they run the biz world. The Banker is read by serious, serious money who really run the biz world.”

And here’s what the serious, serious money has to say:

>> Venezuela is “enjoying a boom without equal.”

>> The boom is not confined to the oil sector: “the rank-and-file are also reaping benefits.”

>> Poverty levels are way down: “In 2002 the World Bank reported 47% of the population was below the poverty line; in 2005 it was 34%.”

>> Venezuela’s investment potential is “the envy of the banking world.”

>> The real story of Venezuela “has been misinterpreted in the English speaking media.”

Now here’s the fascinating part: the Financial Times reporting has long been a part of this media “misinterpretation.” But The Banker is put out by the same publishers. They know what’s up. They just choose not to print it.

You need to pay a buttload of money to access The Banker online. But you download the pdf version here.

March 15, 2007

21st Century Socialism, Baby

For you econ nerds, the Venezuelan government might just be offering the best of all worlds. The energy sector is nationalized, and/but they’re offering Venezuelans the ability to buy a piece. The cash stays in-country and the whole thing is investment worthy. So suck it, IMF, and privatize yo’ mama.

March 18, 2007

Another Story Too Good To Check

One month ago, we wrote:

Bloomberg says Hugo Chavez is sooo retarded he thinks you can just take the zeros off the currency to cut inflation overnight. And then they go interview a few economists and ask, “how stupid do you have to be to think you can just take the zeros off the money to cut inflation?” and the economists answer, “Way stupid.” Cut. Print. These stories write themselves!

Today, you can replace “Bloomberg” with “New York Times.” Cut. Print. These blog posts write themselves!

Sigh. Same response applies:

Venezuela’s inflation is high right now because the Venezuelan economy is through the roof. There’s just tons of money in circulation, which causes the value of the bolivar to go down. The centerpiece of the government’s plan, which isn’t even given a glancing mention in the Bloomberg piece, is to take a good-sized chunk of money out of circulation by selling 5 billion dollars in bonds to local banks, which keeps it in the country (win) and gets inflation under control (win-win).

Only Simon Romero’s piece is even lamer, because in the past month one half of that bond sale already went through and did its job. The other half was announced last week, and expanded three days ago. The mere mention of it has already strengthened the local currency.

While I’m sure it’s more fun to paint an impression of a schizoid economy driven at the whim of an incompetent president, sometimes actual facts need to be looked at and reported, too.

March 23, 2007

A Day Late and 1,000 Bolivars Short

The New York Times really really wants you to believe that Venezuela’s currency policy is a one-trick pony. Today’s editorial is especially stupid coming the day after the details of PDVSA’s bond deal—you know, the actual plan to reduce inflation—was announced. But if they’d acknowledged that, they’d have had to scrap their whole hardy-har “Coin of the Realm” headline, which was a priority.

Oh, and by the way the value of the bolivar is “surging” today. Up 10 percent. Which totally undermines the whole point of the NYT editorial. Can’t wait to read their courtly correction.

March 25, 2007

Obsessions of an Economic Hit Piece

We’re sure that the Venezuelans are pleased as punch that the New York Times has taken such a fanatical interest in their inflation rate lately, although they may be scratching their heads over why nobody seemed to care about it in the pre-Chavez days, when it was many, many times worse. The Oil Wars blog puts it all in context.

March 29, 2007

There’s Micro-Credit Available at Low Rates in Them Thar Hills

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The Great Venezuelan Gold Rush is on! Sadly, it’s turning out to be a far more civilized affair than earlier exercises in California or Alaska, which defined the iconic booze-filled, stink-breathed, sodomite-in-a-pinch can do spirit of the Great American West.

Part of the problem this time around is that the 49ers hail from Canada, a country with CEOs that make “rigorous commitments” to hire locals and invest in the community “long after the mine is exhausted” And because the mines are in Venezuela, a country that wants its citizens “participating more in the benefits that are generated by his rich natural resources.” Blah blah blah.

Even the goddamned international business analysts are saying the deal “has proven once and for all that the Venezuelan government are as good as their word and that they do indeed welcome investment from foreign companies.” Yeah, hippie companies, maybe. Read all the boring details here.

April 2, 2007

The Great Venezuelan Inflation Scare? So Two Weeks Ago

Well, gee. “Venezuelan consumer prices had their biggest monthly decline since at least 1990 in March,” says Bloomberg. The drop, of course, was in response to those inflation-cutting programs initiated by the government that I, and, in far more depth, Oil Wars, were flapping our arms about all month while Bloomberg and the New York Times’ editorial page were wasting column inches ridiculing one tiny cosmetic aspect of the plan, and pretending that it was the plan. Of course, according to Bloomberg, this good news was “unexpected.” Ahem.

The awesome part is that the Times now can write to write a whole new editorial praising the inflationary trends they were so preoccupied with two weeks ago. If you need anything from me, I’ll be over here holding my breath.

April 13, 2007

Perfectly Good Economist Story Mocked By “Economic Reality”

Blame it on the corrosive influence of teevee or USA Today, but now even pencil-necked readers of The Economist are demanding those fancy little number-pictures to go along with their pompous prose.

There was nothing wrong with the text of this story. It got in a lot of zingers against Chavez and price controls and the oppressive nature of state regulation. But then some new guy in the graphics department put together the following “chart” which totally contradicted the point they were making.

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Like a drunken heckler in a comedy club, it screams out in a belligerent rage:

“Hey Moron! Looks like Venezuela’s prices have always been higher than the Latin American average. Maybe that’s because it’s an oil state!” and:

“Yo dickwad! Wasn’t Chavez elected in 1998? Doesn’t it look like inflation was double then what it is now?” and:

“Doesn’t that stinking spike in the middle come at the same time that the US pushed the oil executives to sabotage their own goddamned economy?” and:

“Those price controls that you’re all freaked out about? Don’t they freaking coincide with that gigantic drop in inflation in ‘03?” and:

“So all those fucking press stories about out-of-control inflation are about that little fucking uptick at the end? And it's based on your fucking "forecast?" That’s what we’re fucking talking about?! You gotta be fucking kidding me!”


Sorry. I mean that little chart is my buddy and everything, but he can get obnoxious when he drinks.

April 16, 2007

Na Na Na Na. Na Na Na Na. Hey! Hey! Hey!

Goodbyyyye.

In case you missed it, Hugo Chavez commemorated the coup anniversary last week by paying Venezuela’s last debt payment to the World Bank. Then yesterday, President Hunky McHotsalot did the same for Ecuador’s IMF loans.

I know what you're thinking. Now how is Wolfowitz going teach the Latin Americans to fight corruption?

April 17, 2007

Old White Men Peer into Crystal Ball, See Nothing But the Rotten Bitterness of Their Own Souls

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The IMF is pathetic, but in such a hilarious way! As you know, the ultimate predatory lender is virtually dead in Latin America because of …well because of Venezuela.

They’re freaked, and they’re lashing out. In their latest World Economic Outlook report, they "predict" that Venezuela will have the worst economic growth in all of Latin America this year. That’s nice, considering the country had the highest growth in the region for the last three years. Three thoughts here:

1. These people lie for a living, but usually they make an attempt at plausibility.
2. At least Venezuela will still be around by end of the year.
3. They are hyping Panama as the next big investment hub. Honestly, if you have any Panamanian investments/holdings/family members, get them out now. This is the kiss of death.

Oh! In other Panamanian news: this.

BTW: The IMF has never even been close on their Venezuela forecast, as CEPR points out. (PDF)

May 6, 2007

Venezuela in Turmoil as Poor People Hog All the Good Mayo

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You may have read about the North-Koreaesque food shortages that Venezuela is suffering from, but you can’t possibly understand the full depth of the horror until you take this photo tour posted on an opposition blog.

Apparently it’s so bad that on some afternoons they are out of the top-shelf mayonnaise and only have “an assortment of other brands.” If that weren’t enough, there are days when generic cooking oil is replaced by row after row of extra-virgin olive oil!

How could it have come to this? The problem is “very complex,” but it’s “greatly aggravated by an increased purchasing power from the lower classes.” Curse you, low unemployment rate! The poor people can afford to shop, and they are hogging the good stuff. That never would have happened before Chavez.

May 16, 2007

Outdated Concepts of “Time,” “Space” No Match for Invisible Hand of the Market

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Venezuela’s gross domestic product grew a whopping 8.8% in the first quarter of ‘07! Great news, right? Ha! Naïve readers. You don’t know sheeyit. This is Venezuela we’re talking about, so it’s bad news.

You see, last year’s first quarter growth was 11.8%, so this is a growth slowdown sparked by nationalizations—nationalizations that occurred a month or so after the quarter ended. The Houston Chronicle will set you straight.

June 19, 2007

Sure It Works in Practice, But How Does it Do In Theory?

The Miami Herald is trying out a new approach! Today, they’ve brought in a smartypants academic to analyze Venezuela’s financial strategies. She’s sympathetic to the poor people, of course. She totally understands their attraction to social safety nets. But they need to learn that in the long run only a U.S.-style model is really going to bring them out of poverty. It’s really for their own good. If only they’d listen.

Her premise is founded on the notion that Venezuelans are morons only neoliberal economic policies can provide access to small business loans and credit lines they need to rise out of poverty.

Naturally, her piece was published just four days after the New York Times ran this article, all about how access to small business loans and lines of credit has never been easier in Venezuela. Poor women are using the loans to start their own businesses and bring their families out of poverty and, of course, rich women are getting boob jobs.

Always the boob jobs.

July 25, 2007

You Can’t Handle the Truth

Hi. Just thought you might want to know that on average, Venezuelans have moved from a “middle” level standard of living to “high,” according to some index that tracks this kind of thing.

The great news was covered by El Universal, so of course you’ll have to sort of hunt for it (paragraph seven). The article, naturally, opens with this sentence: “A survey conducted by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) in Venezuelan households as of 2005 found slight deterioration of income distribution, compared with 2000,” because, although everyone is getting richer in Venezuela these days, the rich are doing so at a slightly higher rate. So expect so see a follow up in the Miami Herald about how Chavez is increasing income disparities.

July 27, 2007

At Some Point Bush Must Realize that God Isn't Working with Him So Much

"There's no obvious end in sight for Venezuela's current economic expansion."

August 15, 2007

Venezuelan Economic Growth Falls to Two-Year Low!!

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Bloomberg parties like it’s 1929 with this apocalyptic headline. Sure, we’re still talking about 8.9% growth—a few tenths of a percent lower than a year ago at this time, when it was the record for the region. But if you really feel like jumping out a window they probably won’t stop you.

August 26, 2007

Good News From Venezuela!!!

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Any careful follower of news from Venezuela knows that the country has been on the verge of economic collapse for many, many years now. Mostly, it’s due to the iron grip of Hugo Chavez, whose stranglehold over all aspects of Venezuelan life is crushing the windpipe of freedom.

The crazy thing about this psycho-economic asphyxiation is that it is disguised in a deranged “growth” drag that fools people into thinking the very life essence is not being slowly drained through cold blooded suffocation techniques similar to those used by Ted Bundy on his victims. And tragically, even if someone were to pry Chavez’s gnarled fingers away from the jugular of sound economic policy this very instant, the Venezuelan economy would be sort of lifeless and wheelchair bound and pissing itself for all eternity because as we mentioned above, it’s been going on for a while now. Anyway the Financial Times has the story.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that the Venezuelan economy is in great shape! (See the link above for more info). According to the Financial Times, since the poverty rate has dropped so dramatically under Chavez, people are eating and laughing and tossing their hair back like in a Mentos commercial. They’re spending like crazy, and the country is scrambling to import more “milk, eggs, beans and beef” just to keep up with the demand. Music actually plays when the walk down the street. It’s totally weird. And you know the neat thing? The article suggests that economy could stay that way for a while, because it’s in good shape.

Kudos, Financial Times, for bringing us both sides of the story! Before, I just found the complexities confusing.

August 28, 2007

WSJ Knows Venezuelan Investors Are Secretly Morons

Yesterday’s front pager opens:

Like many people they know in Caracas these days, Alfred and Norma Muñoz are bracing for what they believe is inevitable: a currency crash brought about by President Hugo Chávez's policies.
Of course:
Few economists who follow Venezuela are forecasting deep financial trouble.
In fact:
Venezuela's economy is booming. The fourth-largest oil exporter to the U.S. has averaged 12.6% annual growth since 2004 -- the fastest in Latin America. Three-month waits to buy new cars are standard at Caracas dealerships amid a boom in consumer financing. Unemployment has fallen to single-digit rates for the first time in more than a decade.
So Naturally:
Many Venezuelans are preparing for the worst.

September 3, 2007

Crappy Bloomberg Coverage Sparks Financial World Insurgency

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As you know, U.S. news outlets have been praying for reporting on Venezuela’s just-around-the-corner financial collapse ever since Hugo Chavez rolled into office eight years ago now. Yet that willful, defiant, anti-American economy simply refuses to cooperate.

While lesser wire services might wuss out in the face of such resistance, the red blooded patriots over at Bloomberg News know that one mighty surge of ridiculously one-sided reporting might just tip the scales in our favor. And so: this. Bring it on, Beeeyach!

Problem is, this type propaganda front might be sparking rifts with our natural allies in the region. In a development that Nobody Could Have Foreseen™, it turns out that financial analysts actually rely on objective reporting from the region to do their jobs, and now, they’re sort of pissed. This analysis from the RGE Monitor had us at hello when it got all snarky talking about the Bloomberg “commentators …..oops sorry reporters.”
But then it gets good:

>>> Apparently, when you line up a bunch of critics with an agenda without any balance, “it all seems a little lop-sided;” And:

>>> Bloomberg’s discussions of inflation are missing crucial context, and reports of food shortages are… just bogus; And:

>>> “My conclusion is a simple request to the newswires: When it comes to Venezuela, more facts, more balance and less spin. Please.”


HaHa! Please, Indeed.

Update: In case you’re too lazy to read the whole thing yourself, I want to pull out one more paragraph, because it’s awesome:

On September 1st 2007, Bloomberg reported the latest macroeconomic figures from Peru and Venezuela. Under the happy headline “Peru Inflation Slows in August as Bus Fares, Fuel Prices Drop”, Lima correspondent Alex Emery noted Peru’s month on month rate rose and the year-on-year rate dropped. Meanwhile, under the worrying headline “Venezuelan Inflation Accelerates on State Spending” Caracas correspondents Theresa Bradley and Steve Bodzin noted Venezuela’s month on month rate rose and the year-on-year rate dropped”
See, you're not crazy. It’s all just spin.

September 18, 2007

Yes It Works In Practice, But Will It Work In Theory?

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Check it out: Latin America and the Caribbean are experiencing “their best economic performances in decades,” and all it took was carefully studying the fuck-the-poor Washington Consensus economic policies and doing not that. Moises Naim and Ricardo Haussmann must be spinning in their executive black leather swivel chairs. Of course, they’ll still be called in to “analyze” it all in the press, because the world is stupid like that.

October 11, 2007

But What Does He Know About The Money?

Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz was in Caracas this week explaining how “Venezuela's economic growth in recent years has been `impressive.’” and “prais[ing] the South American country's success at distributing its oil income among citizens.”

As one reader wrote in, “Armchair economists may now STFU, Stiglitz in da house.” Indeed.


February 11, 2008

Jabbery Old Crank Says Blah Blah Blah

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Hi did you know that Venezuelan ECONOMY has tanked? And that they’ve run out of FOOD? And it’s just like in ZIMBABWE down there? And that they’re about to go to WAR with somebody although we’re not exactly sure who? And that Chavez was planning to DEFRAUD the electorate last December but was stopped only by the threat of MILITARY INSURRECTION? And that Venezuelans don’t even LIKE HIM anymore? And that the opposition has turned into DEMOCRATIC FORCE in the country?

Had you going until that last one sorta! Here’s a tip for reading the Washington Post: Jackson Diehl writes the paper’s unbylined foreign policy editorials. When the rest of the ed board refuses to back him, they make him put his name on it and move it to the right hand side of the page. When this happens, it’s usually a pretty good sign that he’s just making shit up. (They haven’t actually fact checked him since his rah rah Iraq war days, which prompted at least this dude to quit).

BTW the only independent updated study of Venezuela’s economy I know of came out last week and it, um, “notes continued progress in economic growth, poverty reduction, employment, and health and education indicators” and points out that “the Venezuelan economy does not fit the mold of an "oil boom headed for a bust," as frequently described by observers and analysts.” But don’t take the economists’ word for it. Jackson Diehl knows they’re all doomed.

March 13, 2008

At Least He Got To Expense It

Poor Simon Romero is always about a day late and 2300 bolivars short. The New York Times’ special correspondent to Caracas’s better neighborhoods recently traveled to Curaçao to have a good New York City-style laugh at the stupid Venezuelan tourists and how they only go there to buy American dollars. Only haha the article came out exactly when his little premise is sort of meaningless, since Venezuela’s currency has moved against the dollar rather dramatically recently. Wait, why didn’t you know this? Because of jackasses like Simon Romero, say financial analysts, and they’d like to let you in on a little secret…

May 5, 2008

Chavez Maintains Vice-Like Grip on Power Through Cynical “Good Government” Scheme

As you already know, there is nothing that Hugo Chavez won’t do hold on to power, because he is a megalomaniacal crazy jerk who is also fat. This week Reuters explains his latest desperate move to maintain popularity, which primarily involves fixing the country’s problems, and if we don’t intervene quickly he may just succeed in his terrifying scheme.

Where to begin? Over the last few years, dirty, poor Venezuelans slowly began to accumulate some walking around money as the country saw a boom in employment, job training, and cash flow. All of the sudden, people who had been subsisting on rotten food scraps and dirt and dried up dog turds began shopping for products like “eggs” and “milk” and “chicken.” In doing so they literally ripped these products out of the mouths of wealthier Venezuelans, 98% of whom agreed that their lives were better off before.

And then it got worse: decent society had to start eating other kinds of meat and drinking soy milk once in a while and this crisis became the second worst problem the country faced, according to polls. And now, rather than simply putting things back the way they were like a normal human, Chavez found creative ways to address the shortages of milk and chicken and now everyone thinks they are content, but by the time they figure out they are not supposed to be happy it may be too late.

October 8, 2008

Hey Look Who's Going to Ride Out The Whole Global Money Thingy Better Than You:

ohsit.pngReuters offers more evidence that God just doesn't like George W. Bush much:

"Venezuela has suffered little direct effect from the market chaos because Chavez nationalized the most important companies that once traded on the minuscule Caracas stock exchange and because its currency is fixed by exchange."
Ha ha. Anyway Otto's got more on Venezuela & oil prices.

October 16, 2008

Society Reels As Miami Herald Makes Politically Motivated, Demonstrably Untrue Point, Again

I don't know if you people read, but in the last few days we've seen a metric shitload of economic policy experts, in outlets like Reuters, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and, you know, elsewhere, say that Venezuela is better protected than most countries from the market craziness, what with their "policies" and "oil" and "foreign reserves" and such. So of course today the FBI's go-to columnist Andres Oppenheimer published this:

"Most international economists agree that Venezuela will be the Latin American country hardest hit by the coming world recession."
Because it's the Miami Herald, and hey who cares, right?

February 16, 2009

Bizarre "Financial Downturn" Might Hit Venezuela One Day, So Nobody Celebrate Yesterday's Referendum, Umkay?

recession.jpgHappy day after that referendum, Hugo Chavez! It's too bad you can't even enjoy one second of it, because unlike the rest of the world, your country might soon experience some sort of "crisis," with "finances"! This economic hardship, exclusive to Venezuela, seems to have sprung from shady mortgage lending in California and negligent financial oversight from the US Department of Treasury. Ensuing market pressures have bypassed Mexico and Central America entirely, instead winding their way down to Caracas, where they will soon bring ECONOMIC DISASTER, which will completely negate any sort of happiness you or your supports might have felt today. Sorry!

Lest anybody think of celebrating your historic electoral victory, the terrible reality of your impending financial predicament was explained today in nearly every English language analysis of yesterday's referendum.

But it gets worse, I'm afraid. Your government is vulnerable during these sorts of economic problems, because unlike the rest of the world, your popularity is somehow dependent on your ability to lavish "basic needs" on your citizenry, such as education, health care, and a national defense infrastructure, so naturally any cutbacks you make, will lead to your inevitable defeat at the ballot box next time around.
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August 27, 2009

Capitalists Heart Bolivarian Revolution

socialismfortherich.jpgBy Revolter

Looks like some big Western banks think Venezuela's a good long-term economic bet, even though it's economy's forever imminent collapse is just about to happen. When? Soon. It's always going to happen. . soon.

H/T: Otto

January 11, 2010

Check it Out: WSJ Favors Socialist Market Controls After All

bolivares.jpgSo for the last 2 years the Wall Street Journal has been predicting the total fucking COLLAPSE of the Venezuelan economy because they stubbornly refused devalue their currency. Well guess what? Over the weekend Venezuela finally bit the bullet and devalued the bolivar, so today the Wall Street Journal took their predictable victory lap by running this story about...OMG THE VENEZUELAN ECONOMY IS ABOUT TO COLLAPSE, because of this devaluation! PS none of this will ever happen.

Oh and BTW: "Older Venezuelans are accustomed to sharp losses in the value of their money, with numerous devaluations and currency regimes over the last three decades of economic turmoil. Inflation, the highest in the Americas, at 25 percent last year, reached 103 percent in 1996 after a previous president lifted exchange and price controls."

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