Venezuela confirms major contraction in rare data release

Demonstrators hold up their hands painted with the Spanish phrase: "No more deaths" outside the J. M. de los Ríos pediatric hospital after the reported deaths of four children there this month in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 27, 2019. The deaths of several Venezuelan children with leukemia who were waiting for bone marrow transplants have ignited a bitter dispute between the government and opponents over who is to blame. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's government has made a rare acknowledgement of the severity of the country's economic crisis by publishing the first economic data in nearly four years showing a severe contraction and soaring hyperinflation.

The central bank said Tuesday that the oil-rich economy contracted 22.5% in the third quarter of 2018 from a year earlier. It said inflation soared to 130,060%.

Opposition economists, and the International Monetary Fund, have put inflation figures even higher.

Some 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country in recent years as the economy has crashed amid a bitter fight over power between socialist leader Nicolás Maduro and his opponents.

Maduro's government has not commented on the data, which was published quietly Tuesday on the central bank's website.

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