Venezuelan inflation approaches 150,000% as Maduro's efforts to curb huge price increases fail

  • The Bloomberg Café Con Leche Index, which gauges Venezuela’s inflation through the price of a cup of coffee, showed an annual inflation rate of 149,900 percent after its latest reading.
  • The staggering inflation print comes after the Venezuelan government issued a new currency, the "sovereign bolivar." One sovereign bolivar was worth 100,000 "old" bolivars.
  • These efforts initially helped, but the currency has recently plunged, however.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro 
Marco Bello | Reuters
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's most-recent attempt to stop his country's massive inflation problems is failing, at least according to one measure.

The Bloomberg Café Con Leche Index, which gauges Venezuela's inflation through the price of a cup of coffee, showed an annual inflation rate of 149,900 percent after its latest reading.

The staggering inflation print comes after the Venezuelan government issued a new currency, the "sovereign bolivar." One sovereign bolivar was worth 100,000 "old" bolivars. The purpose of the new currency was to normalize day-to-day transactions as the country battles through years of hyperinflation. The new currency is also pegged to petro, a digital currency issued by the Venezuelan government that many consider is illegal.

These efforts initially helped as the sovereign bolivar held in a range between 95 and 115 per U.S. dollar, Bloomberg reported citing data from Monitor Dolar. On Monday, however, the bolivar traded at 276.53 per dollar, Monitor Dolar data showed.

Venezuela's troubles come as the country with the biggest oil reserves in the world deals with an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Venezuela faces shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods.

On top of that, the Trump administration has sanctioned dozens of Venezuelans associated with Maduro's regime, including his wife, Cilia Flores. The Treasury Department also seized a $20 million private jet belonging to Diosdado Cabello — the vice president of Venezuela's socialist party — back in September.

Venezuela's inflation is expected to keep spiraling out of control, too. The International Monetary Fund said in June it expected inflation in Venezuela to hit 1 million present in 2018, noting the country is "stuck in a profound economic and social crisis."