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

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.