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Venezuela hikes minimum wage by 10% to keep up with inflation

CARACAS--President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday that Venezuela's minimum wage was being hiked by 10 percent in a bid to keep up with Latin America's highest inflation rate.

At 56 percent a year, this oil-rich yet economically turbulent OPEC member state has the highest inflation rate across the Americas.

“I have decided to start January by implementing a salary increase of 10 percent, effective in January,” Maduro said in an address to lawmakers at Miraflores presidential palace.

The government considers Venezuela's minimum monthly salary of (the equivalent in bolivars of) US$519 a month Latin America's highest.

But that is only if you use of the official exchange rate or 6.3 bolivars to the greenback. Factoring in the black market dollar exchange, people earning the minimum wage actually net 10 times less — about US$51 a month.

The government estimates that growth in 2014 in the socialist-run South American nation should hit 4 percent, and inflation some 26-28 percent.

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