Venezuelan economy shrank by 5.8% in fourth quarter of 2009

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According to reports from the Venezuelan central bank, the country's economy contracted by 5.8% in the final quarter of the last fiscal year, the third consecutive quarter of shrinkage. The Venezuelan economy contracted by 3.3% for the whole of 2009.

The bank attributed the causes of this lack of growth primarily due to "the weakness of the price of oil and output reductions" from OPEC, as well as the ongoing global economic slowdown.

Economic analysts predict Venezuela's economy to post only small growth throughout this year. "Venezuela did better than most countries at the beginning of the global recession, but now it's in greater trouble," commented financial writer Juan Pablo Fuentes of Moody's Economy.com.