CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's socialist government has confirmed that the economy fell into a deep recession this year but blamed the slump on opponents trying to sabotage activity in the oil-rich nation.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Venezuela's socialist government has confirmed that the economy fell into a deep recession this year but blamed the slump on opponents trying to sabotage activity in the oil-rich nation.

The central bank said gross domestic product contracted more than 4.8 percent on an annual basis in the first two quarters of the year and 2.3 percent in the July-September period. Inflation reached 64 percent in November.

The report was no surprise to economists, who blame the government's tight control of foreign exchange for scaring away investment and widespread shortages.

But being the first GDP data released this year, it was a rare admission of the severity of an crisis forecast to deepen as a plunge in oil prices is seen forcing the government to slash spending or default on debt.