Venezuela tops world inflation

"Say, Mr. Bus Driver, why are you speeding toward that cliff?"

According to Blanca Vera Azaf – my favorite economics journalist – an unofficial source confirmed that Venezuela’s inflation reached 270.7% in 2015. This would mean that for the third year in a row Venezuela had the highest inflation rate in the world.

Sadly, unofficial rates are the only ones we have. The last official inflation rate is from December 2014 and after the last changes to the Venezuelan Central Law Bank vía Enabling Law, the Board of Directors has free rein to classify any information as “secret” or “confidential” sin posibilidad de pataleo. In other words: Maduro legalized the unconstitutional kidnapping – for the lack of a better word – of official data.

Another really depressing fact: with an inflation of 270.7%, Venezuela surpasses the 103.2% inflation level of 1996, making the 2015 inflation rate the highest in our recorded history.

According to the leak, the inflation rate for December alone was 16.1%. If we stick to Phillip Cagan’s 1956 definition of hyperinflation – when the monthly inflation rate exceeds 50% – we still have a ways to go.

But with Maduro driving the bus – and Luis Salas navigating – the real question isn’t “where are we going?” It’s “are we there yet?”