Hyperinflated Arepa Index V

June 30, 2015

I was in Caracas a week ago and went to eat an arepa. It was not research, it was gluttony, as I did not expect any change from the sharp increase I had observed in May. But lo and behold, my arepa de queso de mano had gone up another Bs. 45 in that time to close at Bs. 320, almost tripling the price of an arepa in the six months since I started the index.

Here is the chart now:


As has been reported elsewhere, inflation does indeed seem to be accelerating.

At least the size of the arepa is the same…



29 Responses to “Hyperinflated Arepa Index V”

  1. Kepler Says:

    Could it be that this year we will have a clear trade deficit?

  2. Kepler Says:

    One of the best ways to show how the economy is doing is a chart plotting how the percentage of a mean salary to buy what you need for food, rent, transportation (either public or private, which includes car repair etc)

    That is the key: what can the mean Venezuelan buy with his salary now and what she could in 1998.

  3. Roy Says:

    And, to punctuate the discussion, today the Bs. ended trading today in Cucuta at 501. Is there anyone left who will argue that we are not yet in hyperinflation?

  4. Sledge Says:

    Innocent question: aprox. what Percentage of the 3 Million + empleados publicos in the 32 Ministerios or other tentacles of the Regime do any bloggers here think are honest, hard-working people, with no Tigritos on the side?

    Add to that all the Contratistas y “Vivienda” or other projects, with the Chinese or whomever, or in any “industry” left, private or not.

    I suspect that corruption in Guisozuela has permeated all levels of society, like a contagious pandemic disease, down to the campesinos , workers, unions and back up. We know electricity and gas and some basic food, medicine or schooling is almost free, but it just does not add up.

    • jau Says:

      It is not that they are honest to god honest. Is that their bosses steal the whole cake and they sort out the crumbles, if any.

      Ahora Miguel, cuanto vale un bozal de arepas?

  5. Charly Says:

    At least the size remains the same. It gets quite difficult to work out an index when the price goes up while the quantity goes down, that is generally what happens.

  6. moctavio Says:

    Sledge: If you think the 3 million enchufados live well, then think again.

    • Sledge Says:

      I really don’t know how they live. I wonder how they can possibly survive, supposedly with those minimum salaries, while being “honest”. I have strong suspicions for many reasons, including all the years living in Vzla, Not saying they all steal, or have alternate sources of income.. but LOTS of them must, unless they’re living on savings from the 90’s..

  7. Island Canuck Says:

    Just take non controlled items like TVs, A/Cs, washer / dryers or refrigerators.

    These prices have skyrocketed – more than 1000+% in 2 years.
    Chloro for the pool up 2000+% in 1 year.
    Detergent in bags of 10 or 20 kg. – up 1000%+ in 1 year.
    Etc., etc.

    And then there are all the products that have just disappeared so there is no way of knowing what they would cost if available.

    People who talk of inflation at 100 or 200% per year don’t have the full picture.

  8. Even that the hyperinflation is here “en pleno desarrollo” my numbers are 285 % y-o-y, and Steve’s is 534%, that it’s, his implied hyperinflation, Steve (Hanke) numbers are not exaggerated, he estimate hyperinflation using the parallel dollar, which is a legitimate way to do it, My hyperinflation indicator consider – more Austrian economics definition- the loss of bolivar’s purchasing power, taking away shortages. However your arepa (hyper)inflation numbers does not look “hyper” since it does not show the typical hyperbolic shape, consider that hyperinflation distributions dots head to no where. Although you try to replicate the “burger dollar” arepa does not help you. Try separate arepa from the queso de mano, or alternatively, use cachapa, it has less government interference on cachapa than in arepa. The portugues, for sure is transferring to cachapa price –or costs- the subsidies and that could give you a better indication of hyperinflation.

  9. lobo Says:

    jaimerequena your post makes no sense. All foriegn cards are transacted at SIMADI….check your facts. Seguro.

  10. Sledge Says:

    And how do we respond in Kleptozuela: “Si sube la arepa, tengo que robar mas”

    (y si no, tambien, como todos los demas)

  11. moctavio Says:

    When was this? Currently credit cards are supposed to be exchanged at the Siamdi rate near Bs. 200. It should have been $4.5 at that rate.

  12. jaimerequena Says:

    Miguel, Your arepa index as it is, expressed in fuertes bolivares is OK, however as it is intended for an English speaking audience it needs to be qualified. perhaps a recent experience of a friend of mine will help to illustrate my point. My friend and companion happen to have arrived to the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia a couple of days ago, very early in the morning. Since they had to wait some six hours to catch a flight to Mérida town and being hungry, they settled for a couple of ham and yellow chesse arepas, two orange juices and two “marrones grandes, por favor”. Presto, food came, they ate and were happy to set “the dolorosa” that amounted to BsF 980,oo. So far ok, prices were in line with your arepa index. However, they did not have Bolivars to pay them at hand. No problem, the good all plastic credit card was ready to rescue them. As soon as the transaction was registered, there was a message in my friend cell phone, !thanks to world commerce and internet!. The bank was informing him that his credit card account has just been debited with US$ 165,00. Now, as you can see, things are extremely relative around here, Einstein loves us in as much as nothing is what it seem it is, including Devils excrement arepas index. In effect, if your are an unfortunate tourist with no greens at hand, arepas can be extremely expensive… in the other hand if you happen to have convertibles greens, arepas can be a pretty cheap feast. In reality, it does not matter your nationality, what counts here is “billetes y verde mejor que nada”.

    • ECG Says:

      That corresponds to a ~6Bsf/$ rate of exchange.

      I thought that credit cards were supposed to use the Simadi exchange rate or ~200Bsf/$.

      • Rory Says:

        In theory, maybe, but it varies from place to place. So I’ve heard, anyway, from a relative who was there 2 months ago.

  13. Harold Gale Says:

    At least it is only 75 cents, or so, at the real exchange rate. Not a bad deal for most folks ?

    • moctavio Says:

      Minimum salary now is 7,421 Bolívars. That means that someone making minimum salary could only eat 20 of these in one month. This is very expensive for most people right now. The minimum salary at Bs. 480 per $ is barely $15 per month. The distortion is truly awful.

      • Sledge Says:

        How many people actually only make “minimum salary”? How can they possibly pay rent, utilities, clothes, school items, transportation, medical, etc, etc, etc, AND also eat? Another reason why most people left in Guisozuela end up stealing, or at least bachaqueando..

    • Charlie Says:

      “Not a bad deal for most folks ?” Actually, it is a bad deal for most folks!

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