Venezuela's gross domestic product
(GDP) grew 5.5 percent in 2012, with the private sector pulling up
the economy by 3.5 percent, Central Bank President Nelson Merentes
The preliminary figure was not only higher than the 4.2-percent growth chalked up in 2011, but also topped the 5-percent goal set out in the 2012 national budget, Merentes said.
Among all economic segments, the construction sector posted the sharpest growth of 16.8 percent, boosted by the government's massive housing program, under which a total of 316,718 houses have been built between 2011 and 2012.
Trade and services grew 9.2 percent and the government's goods and services sector expanded 5.2 percent.
The all-important oil industry, however, only reported a mild growth of 1.4 percent. The sector, which is the pillar of Venezuela's economy and main source of foreign exchange, produces some 3.1 million barrels of crude oil daily.
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