CARACAS, Venezuela — Capital flight, political instability and misguided attempts to rein in double-digit inflation are being blamed for the weakening of Venezuela’s currency on the black market, where it has fallen more than 75 percent against the U.S. dollar since April.
The sharp drop in the value of the bolivar has occurred as economic problems grow more acute for President Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, and political divisions between Chavistas and the opposition become wider and more violent.
Traders said Thursday that a dollar cost as much as 37 bolivars, compared with the unofficial rate of 21 to 22 as recently as April, when Maduro narrowly defeated Henrique Capriles in the election to replace Chavez, who died in March.
The official exchange rate is 6.3 “Bs” to the dollar through government agencies, although that price is rarely available. Venezuelan individuals and businesses needing dollars for foreign travel or to import goods and services generally must resort to the black-market exchanges.