Venezuela gov't says economy up 5.4 percent
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's economy grew in the second quarter to a level 5.4 percent ahead of the same period last year, the government said Friday.
A report released by Venezuela's Central Bank said increases in both the public and private sectors contributed to the gain, continuing economic growth for a seventh straight quarter following a nearly two-year recession.
Increased public spending coupled with high prices for oil exports also helped the growth in Venezuela's gross domestic product, the report said.
It said the construction sector expanded 17.6 percent in the April-June quarter, driven by the government's efforts to build millions of apartments for mostly homeless and poor Venezuelans.
The banking sector benefited from increased monetary liquidity, growing 34.4 percent, and commerce increased 9.8 percent, the report said.
Industrial production, which has traditionally helped boost economic activity, dropped 9.4 percent during the second quarter. The mining sector also showed a decrease, falling 4.5 percent in part because of problems at state-run mining companies, the report said.
Venezuela's economy expanded 4.2 percent during 2011. Officials have expressed optimism the economy will grow 5 percent this year.
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