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There are more dollars in Venezuela now than there are bolivars

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Alex Vasquez
Bloomberg News
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The U.S. dollar has extended its dominance in Venezuela as local people increasingly turn to the greenback for even the smallest of purchases.

Physical dollars now account for more than half of all retail transactions as the amount in circulation has increased to as high as $2.7 billion, according to data from the Caracas-based research firm Ecoanalitica. That's three times the value of all the cash bolivars in existence combined with the amount of local currency held in checking and savings accounts, the data show.

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The dollar has taken hold of the economy following years of devaluations and hyperinflation that eroded the value of the bolivar to a level that hovers just a hair above worthless, and amid a shortage of local-currency notes.

Rather than putting in the work to assemble a big enough pile of bolivar notes and dragging them around in bags, it's more practical for Venezuelans to conduct their commerce in dollar bills flown into the country as remittances or picked up at exchange houses at the borders of Colombia and Brazil. ...

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