President Daniel Ortega announced a new currency devaluation and wage increases to shore up an economy he said has been damaged by U.S. support for the Contra rebels.

Ortega gave few details in a 40-minute speech Tuesday on state-run radio but said the measures would increase production and "permit survival while working toward peace in Nicaragua."A source who attended a closed-door meeting in Planning Minister Alejandro Martinez Cuenca's office after the speech said the government devalued its currency, the cordoba, from 80 to 180 per $1 at the official rate.

The leftist Sandinista government normally conducts its foreign trade at the official rate.

Wage hikes range from 60 percent for state agricultural workers to 35 percent for urban government workers, the source said. The average worker earned about $16 a month before the raise.