Venezuela Inflation Slows to 12-Year Low as Maduro Eyes Votes

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s monthly inflation slowed to 1% in June, the lowest in twelve years, as the government ramps up local dollar sales ahead of presidential elections.

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Consumer prices eased to 1% from 1.5% May, the smallest increase since July 2012, according to central bank data. After a stretch of hyperinflation that neared an estimated 2 million percent a year, President Nicolás Maduro has stuck with a strategy that combines tight monetary and fiscal restrictions while also allowing the free-flow of the US dollar. Maduro’s efforts come ahead of July 28 elections, when he seeks to extend his 11 years in power.

The central bank boosted dollar sales in June to $441 million, adding to a total of $2 billion during the first half of the year, according to Caracas-based consulting firm Síntesis Financiera.

Petróleos de Venezuela SA’s joint ventures with international oil majors, led by US Chevron Corp., have “substantially increased” dollar sales to the market after US licenses allowed them to scale up operations without breaching oil sanctions, Síntesis Financiera added.

--With assistance from Nicolle Yapur.

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