Venezuelan Money Supply Rises Amid Protests, Uncertainty

Venezuelan Money Supply Rises Amid Protests

Money supply in Venezuela is increasing faster than it ever has before, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Currency supply in the country grew by 31 percent in the week of Jan. 25, and that amount is the fastest expansion since 1997.

The increase of money could signal that the government in the country is panicking and spending more while dealing with protests, various sanctions and the problem of a large part of the world not recognizing its legitimacy. The printing has helped to drive hyperinflation in the country and tank the currency.

In November, the former national treasurer of Venezuela was sentenced to the maximum of 10 years in prison for accepting bribes. Alejandro Andrade, who for four years oversaw the treasury under the late leader Hugo Chavez, was accused of accepting more than $1 billion in bribes to participate in an illegal foreign currency scheme. He secretly pleaded guilty in December of 2017 to one count of money laundering. Andrade’s case was part of a broader effort by the U.S. government to tamp down on the exploitation of the U.S. financial system by Venezuela.

The scheme, according to the U.S. Justice Department, involved influential and connected people buying highly subsidized dollars with the help of currency agencies or government-sponsored auctions, and then selling them on the black market. Black market dollars often resell for double their value, and sometimes up to 10 times more, bringing in enormous profits. The brokerages that bribed Andrade would give him kickbacks and buy him things, including 17 horses, 35 luxury watches, 12 automobiles and six houses in Florida.

Venezuela’s current president, Nicolas Maduro, hasn’t spoken much about the case. However, he said that America is trying to undermine his government through continued financial sanctions.