Hyperinflated Arepa Index (HAI) XII: Cruising Through A Factor Of Ten Increase

May 28, 2016


It was only a matter of time, but the Hyperinflated Arepa Index crossed the factor of ten increase in price with ease, as this week I went and had another delicious arepa at my favorite joint and I paid a price of Bs. 1,400 for my queso de mano arepa. This whole story began on Nov. 17th. 2014, at a price of Bs. 120. It took one year six months and four days for the price to increase by a factor of ten. This represents a 27% increase since the last report on April 9th. and a 409% increase since twelve months ago. The price has increase 1066% since I started logging it.

Of course, the increase is actually higher because as I reported last time, there has been a bit of Soviet style inflation, with the arepas getting smaller. Above I post a picture taken on Nov. 15th. 2015 and the arepa I ate this week. I don’t know if the plates are the same size, but you can easily see that the filling is much less generous now. On the top one there are four generous slabs of queso de mano, on the botttom one there are three not so generous ones. The arepas to me are clearly smaller (I suspect the plate on the right is bigger, but I wonder about how the paper around the arepa seems to be the same size)

The taste was as delicious as ever…



43 Responses to “Hyperinflated Arepa Index (HAI) XII: Cruising Through A Factor Of Ten Increase”

  1. Anders Says:


    Venezuela now ranks 162 of 163 in Prosperity & Equality.
    But hey, at least it beats Syria and Iraq in the overall rankings!

  2. Charlie Says:

    Completely O.T. Does any one know what are the present conditions at Guri Dam? Last level report I’ve seen is from May 2nd.

  3. Roger Says:

    To answer my own question, I noticed that Harina PAN is now produced in the US too. At first it was marked from Venezuela till Bozo banned exports then Colombia. Interesting that it cost less than it did when imported years ago. I suppose that exporting it would be cheaper than shipping maize except that its also used to make beer. I suspect that Polar is positioning themselves for when the foreign aid kicks in? They have an interesting site called PANCORN COM .

  4. Diocletian Says:

    Here is a totally weird article in TeleSur. They must be getting desparate as they reporting that the rich eat well in Venezuela and that there are still blond kids there.


  5. moses Says:

    Vegetables like carrots are 1200 Bs per kg at supermarkets, chicken is 2500 to 3000 bs per kg, it is almost a tenfold increase also in less than a year.

    Dont forget that most of the white corn used to make the Harina Pan used in the arepas is imported, probably 70 to 80%

  6. M Rubio Says:

    I see the effects of inflation not only in the goods I sell here at the bodega, but also in the bills circulating. Notes of 2 and 5 bs have disappeared, 10’s and 20’s are on life support. Most everything now is paid for with 50’s or 100’s. Heck, even the kids are buying chucharia with a fist-full of 100’s.

    No meat, pork, or eggs at the market this morning though there were a few live and dressed chickens. Fresh veggies are available at what look like reasonable prices to me, but then, I don’t live off of mínimum wage.

    Theft is rampant. Everything not nailed down, and some things that are, is getting stolen. Leave a building unoccupied for a day or two and the roof will disappear. A single sheet of corregated aluminum, last time I checked, was at about 10,000 bs.

    The National Guard is constructing a check station on the outskirts of town. They left it unguarded for a few days and the doors and toilets disappeared.

    Hold on to your hats. It’s not getting any better any time soon.

    • Rafael Says:

      Un testimonio interesante… he visto fotos de bombillos y baterías encadenados para que no los roben. Ya solo me falta ver la de una poceta (le dicen así en Venezuela al toilet, ¿no?) con cadena para llegar así al colmo del absurdo surrealista. Venezuela es verdaderamente un país increíble (por cierto, en inglés se escribe corrugated, no corregated).

      • M Rubio Says:

        Rafael, the front of my bodega is under roof and lighted at night by several 100 watt bulbs. When I first opened, all I’d do is turn off the lights during the day, leaving the bulbs in place. Now I have to remove the bulbs or they get stolen.

        A woman who works as a nurse at the local medicatura told me that people enter the bathrooms and leave with the toilet paper and light bulb. It’s bizarre. And yes, toilet is “poceta” here.

        And thanks for correcting my lousy english. It’s almost as bad as my spanish. LOL

        • Rafael Says:

          Gracias por la respuesta. Lamento que su país sufra esta situación pero me solidarizo con ustedes y espero y deseo que todo este desastre (misery porn lo llaman acertadamente en caracaschronicles.com) termine lo antes posible.

  7. Ira Says:

    My wife’s making them with small pieces of chicharrones this morning.

    As usual, I said no thanks.

    (Some of you are well aware of my distaste for most arepas. I DID enjoy the VZ curbside areperias with the tiny ones and a choice of a hundred fillings, but I can’t handle these big ones with only cheese.)

    I’m still on the lookout for another stove top arepa-making press/contraption, to have as a spare. Not an electric one.

    I gotta make it over to Weston, FL, but it’s got to be at least 15 miles away!

  8. moctavio Says:

    Thats about as much cheese as the top arepa has, four to five large slices of queso de mano

    • TV Says:

      Well, 200 grams of cheese is usually enough for two people for up to a week, if you eat it 2-3 times a day. The first arepa does look very well filled, I doubt it’s 200 grams, but there certainly is a lot of cheese in it.

      This may sound a bit mean, but if you want to use less antihypertensives, this is a good place to start.

      • .5mt Says:

        Will MO live longer?
        No, but it will seem longer. 🙂

      • moctavio Says:

        Well, I bought the cheese on Sunday and by Tuesday there was none.

        • TV Says:

          No pleasure in life is worth another 5 years at geriatric ward 🙂 Do what you will, but if you want to improve your health, that’s a good place to start 🙂

          • moctavio Says:

            Well, read the book the Big Fat Surprise, eating fat does not necessarily mean you accumulate fat.

            • TV Says:

              I was actually reffering to the salt in cheese. You mentioned in an earlier post you’re on antihypertensives 🙂
              Fat itself indeed isn’t evil, the problem is that it’s very easy to eat too many calorues if you eat a lot of fat. Fat has a pleasing taste in itself, and twice the caloric content, per mass, of carbohydrates or protein.

            • Daveed Says:

              Hallelujah! We have another who has seen the “LOW-FAT-IS-WRONG” light! Long live all converts and the authors Eenfeldt, Taubes, Teicholz et al!

  9. moctavio Says:

    A little more. The first arepa in the picture probably has about 200 grams. That would be close to 30%.

  10. captainccs Says:

    I, too, love arepas, my favorites are shredded beef (long time no see), leg of pork, and queso de mano.

    On Friday I bought Bs. 1,600 worth of fruit from a street vendor:

    9 large bananas, 4.4 pounds (2 Kg)
    5 large hybrid mangos 2.2 pounds (1 Kg)
    6 smallish tangerines 1.1 pounds (1/2 Kg)

    Seven and a half pounds of fruit have a lot more nutrition than an arepa. The reason they are so cheap is that there is no industrial process in them. Harvest, ship, and sell. The bananas are slightly processed, they are treated with acetylene to speed up ripening. Arepas are made of corn flour which is an industrial product and that’s where the cost comes in.

    • TV Says:

      The main difference is that arepa comes with a place to sit and eat, and someone will hand it over to you. The cost of the arepa itself is almost neglble.

      • moctavio Says:

        The cost of the cheese is not negligible. I paid Bs. 800 for 350 grams of queso guayanes in Mercado Libre de Chacao last week.

        • TV Says:

          That would make the cheese cost what? 10-20% of the arepa? It’s arguable whether this is neglible or not, but we can quite safely say it’s not processing that makes the arepa expensive, it’s where and how it is bought 🙂

        • Diocletian Says:

          Likewise, while the cost of maize is negligible, it is almost certainly available in the local market. And likewise industry is not functioning as would be expected. The difference between shadow prices and market prices.

  11. Roger Says:

    I was at the Mexican market today and along with the 1Kg bags of Harina Pan they also had 500Gram bags of Harina Pan Dolce. Don’t know what that is or if their making smaller bags to satisfy more people? Also, it would be interesting to see prices and the origin on the packaging of what people are eating.

  12. TV Says:

    No matter how delicious, 200$ is a little steep for a grilled cheese sandwitch. It shows the black market rate is where Bs will land at the end 😦

  13. I remember going to that expensive Japanese restaurant where the cook sliced and cooked the food in front of the guests, and paying 500 bolis for a lunch and sake for 6, including tip and everything. Are they still open? What’s lunch for two, 100 thousand?

  14. Rafael Vicente Lozano Moreno Says:

    Devil knows you well and identificates, the styles Soviet, the INN, determined in 80 years that a kg of precooked must pay for.: 10 arepas 100 grams. each, not if the areperas are applied this rule under pressure from the government, but I would not be surprised who are pressing them.

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