Venezuela sees 2012 inflation at 19.9 pct, below target

CARACAS - Venezuelan inflation reached 19.9 percent in 2012, the central bank said in a preliminary estimate on Saturday, beating its official target thanks to strict price controls that business leaders say are unsustainable in the long term.
The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has capped prices for a wide range of consumer goods, helping contain inflation that has traditionally been the highest in Latin America. The 2012 target had been between 22 and 25 percent.
But inflation is seen accelerating in 2013 because Venezuela is expected to devalue the bolivar currency after heavy campaign spending this year that helped ensure Chavez's re-election.
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