MIAMI — When the International Monetary Fund predicted earlier this year that hyperinflation in Venezuela could top 13,000 percent, it seemed as if the South American country’s economic outlook could not get any worse.

It just did.

With the situation in the country deteriorating faster than expected, the IMF has unveiled a new and far more severe prognosis, saying that Venezuela’s hyperinflation is poised to shoot for the stars by year’s end, reaching an annualized rate of 1 million percent.

That inflation rate is set to catapult socialist Venezuela further up the list of a rogue’s gallery of nations that have suffered the worst inflation rates in history.

Venezuela’s “is one of the most severe hyperinflation situations that we’ve known about since the beginning of the 20th century,” said Robert Rennhack, deputy director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department.

According to a study by Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, Venezuela’s inflationary spiral as of May ranked as the 23th highest recorded.

Venezuela’s inflation is soaring as the economy has been broken by extreme corruption, failed socialist policies and a collapsing oil industry where a lack of spare parts and expertise has seen output fall to levels not seen since the 1950s. In addition, President Nicolás Maduro – the anointed successor of Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013 – has sought to cling to power by destabilizing institutions, rigging the courts and, his critics say, stealing elections.


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