Venezuela is currently in an economic crisis, and it’s causing the price of everyday gadgets to skyrocket.
It’s so bad that, according to the official exchange rate, an iPhone 6 costs over $US47,000, reports Bloomberg.
The problem is twofold: There’s a nationwide shortage of top-tier smartphones as well as inflation reaching never-before-seen heights.
The Venezuelan bolivar (the country’s currency) currently has two “official exchange rates,” 6.3 and 12 bolivars per dollar, that the government uses to calculate purchase prices for essentials like medicine.
However, the bolivar’s plummeting black market rate — which is currently at about 456 bolivars for every dollar — is what leads to the insane iPhone price, when calculated using the official rates.
Now a mid-level smartphone costs around 17,000 bolivars, which is the equivalent of “2.3 months of pay at minimum wage.” A new iPhone 6 goes for 300,000 bolivars. At the lowest official exchange rate, that’s $US47,619. But at the current black market rate, that’s $US657 — about normal for an unsubsidized phone.
There’s also been a huge uptick in smartphone thefts due to the low inventory and skyrocketing prices. As one Venezuelan consultant told Bloomberg, “If you have a nice phone, they will steal it at some point if you ever show it in the street … And if you want to buy one, it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg.”