Venezuela facing imminent beer shortage

Venezuela Facing Imminent Beer Shortage
Venezuela's economic problems could soon culminate in a beverage crisis.

According to reports, local producers could stop producing beer by next month due to their inability to import necessary inputs like barley and malt.

As such, the supply could shrink by as much as 80 percent by August 3rd.

The problem is largely the result of the Venezuelan government's requirement that international transactions be made with U.S. dollars instead of the domestic currency, the bolivar, to try and stem spiraling inflation.

But because falling oil prices have reduced the administration's own reserve of foreign currencies, it no longer offers dollars to businesses, forcing the commercial sector to pay high rates on the black market or go without.

Compounding the strain are reports that the beer industry already owes international suppliers around $200 million in back invoices.

A spokesman for the National Association of Liquor Store Owners in Venezuela has commented, "Beer shortages will essentially force our sector to go broke; beer accounts for 70 percent of our sales."

More than 400,000 jobs could also be at stake.
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