Venezuela National Assembly begins measuring inflation amid central bank silence

Venezuela's opposition-led congress has started publishing the country's inflation rate based on its own data collection, as the government of President Nicolas Maduro remains silent about the crisis-stricken nation's soaring consumer prices.

The legislature has enlisted economics students to collect price data in five cities and asked former central bank employees to process it using the central bank's methodology, said legislator Jose Guerra, a former economist at the bank and a National Assembly member from the opposition bloc.

Their measurements show prices rose 741 percent in the 12 months to February, 20.1 percent last month alone and 42.5 percent in the first two months of 2017.
Venezuela's most recent official inflation figures, released last year, showed prices rising 180.9 percent in 2015.

"We're not trying to substitute the central bank. We are filling the vacuum left by the central bank as a result of it not publishing the figures," Guerra said in an interview.