UPDATE 1-Chavez says Venezuela GDP may shrink again in 2010

* Chavez previously predicted slight growth this year

* Blames economic trouble on crisis in capitalism

* 1st quarter GDP data due in May, drop likely
(Adds quote, details)

CARACAS, April 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Venezuela’s economy could
shrink for the second consecutive year in 2010, President Hugo
Chavez said on Sunday, reversing an earlier forecast of growth
in a sign the OPEC nation is struggling to recover from
recession.

“The Venezuelan economy, according to the IMF, and repeated
by the World Bank yesterday, entered into recession in 2009 —
that’s true, and will shrink again in 2010 — that could be
true,” Chavez said at a meeting of his Socialist Party.

In February the leader said the economy would likely grow
between 0.5 and 1 percent in 2010. Venezuela’s GDP fell by 3.3
percent last year and deepened by the fourth quarter to 5.8
percent as other countries in the region have begun to pull out
of the slump.

GDP data for the first three months of the year is due in
May and is expected to show another drop.

Chavez blamed the country’s problems on a crisis in
capitalism. He said another fall in GDP this year was not
reason to worry, since it was caused in part by a drop in
imports of non-essential items such as new cars.

Venezuela’s economy grew rapidly for five years before the
recession, driven by heavy public spending of record oil
revenues.
(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Bernard Orr)

UPDATE 1-Chavez says Venezuela GDP may shrink again in 2010