CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's gross domestic product grew 5.5 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, consolidating an economic recovery that began in 2010.
The growth was fueled in part by government spending, especially on a program to construct low-income housing. Construction grew 16.8 percent.
Central Bank President Nelson Merentes announced the figures Thursday.
Private sector production grew 6.1 percent and the public sector production rose 5.2 percent. The all-important oil industry grew 1.4 percent.
The manufacturing sector grew a modest 2.1 percent. Industry leaders complain that currency exchange controls make it difficult to procure dollars that manufacturers need to import raw materials. They also say the overvalued Bolivar currency makes locally produced goods uncompetitive with imported ones.
Also mitigating the recovery is Venezuela's 18 percent inflation rate, the region's highest.