Argentina's consumer price index (CPI) recorded a monthly rise of 3.5 percent in October, the INDEC national statistics bureau reported on Thursday.
Inflation over the last 12 months now totals 52.1 percent, according to official data – one of the highest rates in the world.
Since January, prices are up 41.8 percent, overshooting President Alberto Fernández's government's 2021 Budget estimate of 29 percent for the calendar year.
According to INDEC, price rises last month were led by clothing and footwear (up 5.1 percent) and healthcare (4.7 percent), the latter driven largely by a government-approved increase in prepaid health schemes.
“The increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages sector (3.4 percent) was the one with the highest incidence across all regions," said INDEC in its report. "Within that sector, what most affected most of the regions were increases in vegetables, tubers and legumes; bread and cereals; fruits; meat and [meat] derivatives. In addition, rises in Coffee, tea, yerba [mate] and cocoa stood out; and sugar, sweets, chocolate, sweets, etc.”
The two sectors registered the lowest increases in October were education (1.4 percent) and communications (1.1 percent).
Prices soared in October despite government-imposed freezes on more than 1,400 products, delivered via partial and temporary agreements with businesses, to tamp down inflation.
INDEC’s data was released just four days before crucial midterm legislative elections, in which half of the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate will be renewed. The ruling Frente de Todos coalition could lose control of the upper chamber.
Coinciding with the publication of inflation data, the Central Bank’s latest survey of market expectations – based on figures crunched by 42 banks, consultancy firms and research institutes – shows that experts expect inflation to close out the year at around 50 percent.
Argentina’s economy is slowly emerging from a three-year recession and is expected to grow by 8.3 percent this year, according to the Central Bank survey, following a collapse of 9.9 percent of gross domestic product last year following the coronavirus pandemic.