World

Venezuela inflation surges above 50 pct as currency slump hits investment, goods availability

President Nicolas Maduro arrives at the Military Museum to visit the tomb of the late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Maduro's decree establishing Dec. 8 as a public holiday in honor of Chavez was announced Tuesday. The holiday will commemorate Chavez's final public appearance, when the cancer stricken leader anointed Maduro as his successor. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

President Nicolas Maduro arrives at the Military Museum to visit the tomb of the late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Maduro's decree establishing Dec. 8 as a public holiday in honor of Chavez was announced Tuesday. The holiday will commemorate Chavez's final public appearance, when the cancer stricken leader anointed Maduro as his successor. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

Inflation in Venezuela has surged above 50 percent as a plunge in the value of the currency deters investment and makes basic goods harder to find.

Consumer prices jumped 5.1 percent in October, according to a report released Thursday by the central bank. That pushed up inflation over the past 12 months to 54.3 percent, the highest since Venezuela's central bank began tracking prices nationwide in 2008.

An index measuring the scarcity of basic goods also rose to a record high of 22.4 percent.

President Nicolas Maduro vowed on Wednesday to intensify efforts to stamp out currency speculators and hoarders he accuses of waging "economic war" against the government. Venezuela's bolivar currency has plunged to a record low in black market trading, bringing only a tenth of its official value.