Panic buyers thronged Venezuelan shops over the carnival weekend after the government of Hugo Chávez announced a surprise devaluation that analysts said was overdue but would only partly right the listing economy.
Domestic appliances such as fridges and cookers were in particularly high demand as Venezuelans snapped up goods imported at the now defunct exchange rate of 4.3 bolívars per dollar. From now on they will be imported at 6.3 bolívars per dollar.
Opposition politicians seized on what is Venezuela’s fifth devaluation since strict currency controls were introduced in 2003, criticising the socialist government for springing an International Monetary Fund-style adjustment package on the country, and quietly announcing it on Friday while people headed for the beach over the holiday.
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