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While most advanced economies struggle to lift inflation, none would want Venezuela's situation: Consumer-price inflation is forecast to hit 480% this year and top 1,640% in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund.
A shortage of medical supplies means infants and other sick patients are dying of treatable illnesses. Soldiers guard empty grocery store shelves. Inflation is so bad, the government has had to order bolivars by the planeload.
As Caracas extends its declared state of economic emergency, it's no wonder many economists say the nation will soon have to ask the IMF for a bailout. It's gotten so bad, the government this week handed over control of food stocks to the military, ceding even more power to the armed forces.
But Venezuela, whose government severed ties with the IMF nearly a decade ago under its former socialist autocratic leader, Hugo Chávez, hasn't tried to restore relations with the world's emergency lender.
"There has been no change in Venezuela's relationship with the fund," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said Thursday. While the IMF has urged Caracas to reestablish a relationship, "the Venezuelan authorities have not contacted us," he said.
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