Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Great Venezuelan Pigout 

We’ve heard that store shelves are bare in Venezuela. We’ve heard that price controls are ruining the economy. We’ve heard that there are massive shortages. Over the past few months we’ve heard all sorts of statements about the supposedly dire state of the Venezuelan consumer.

Most of this has come from opposition propagandists and naïve suckers in the international media. Why have we heard so little in the way of complaints about this from Venezuelan consumers themselves. Probably because they’re too busy stuffing their faces to complain.

It turns out that consumption of food in Venezuela was up 13% in the first quarter of 2007. That is right – UP by 15%. So much for "shortages". And before our friends squeal that this must be some rigged government statistic it actually comes from the highly partisan, pro-opposition, Datanalysis.

Of course, coming from anti-Chavez sources, this information has to contain SOME bad news. The bad news. if one can call it that, is that stuff is often selling out and people sometimes have to go to various stores to find the exact item they are looking for. Life is a bitch.

By the way, there were other numbers. Overall consumption was up 18% in the first quarter. That comes on top of a 15% increase last year. Even without compounding, that comes to a 33% increase in consumption over the past two years! And this is even before they finish building all the new shopping centers like the new Sambils in Caracas and Barquisimeto.

Consumption of personal care items is up 20%. I’m not so enthused by this number. Venezuelan women already use too much makeup in my opinion (and before you even ask, no, I don’t know if this includes boob jobs).

Housing is up 23%. That is easy to believe given all the construction cranes all over the place putting up new apartment towers.

Comically, with auto sales Datanalysis can’t figure out the numbers – demand is so far ahead of supply (even though we know sales are up 50%!).

Anyways, regardless of what you read in the non-sense web-sites or clueless press reports don’t cry for Venezuelans. They aren’t crying. They are too busy shopping to do anything else.


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