Analyses of regional statistics revealed that foreign remittances to LAC increased in 2018 over 2017 by 10.2 percent to $85 billion. The highest recipient by far was Mexico ($33 billion, followed by Guatemala with $9.29 billion). Remittances are a vital input for LAC economies, constituting up to 39 percent of the GDP of Haiti at $3.34 billion, and 20 percent for Honduras at $4.75 billion. Venezuela’s battered economy also got a vital $3.4 billion. India ranked highest globally with $80 billion, followed by China with $67 billion.
The World Bank estimates that Venezuela’s GDP fell by 17.7 percent in 2018 and is expected to fall a further 25 percent in 2019. The cumulative GDP contraction since 2013, when President Maduro took over, would be 60 percent. Inflation by end 2019 would be 10 million percent, the same figure predicted by the IMF. The IMF meanwhile is reported to have suspended the Maduro government’s access to $400 million in Special Drawing Rights, in view of Maduro’s questionable legitimacy. The regime has low reserves, mainly $9 billion in gold which is difficult to liquidate because of the financial sanctions imposed by western countries.
May 6, 2019