Argentina registered cumulative inflation of 36.1 percent in 2020, with product prices rising fast in the final months of the year, the INDEC national statistics institute reported Thursday.
In December, inflation was four percent, the highest monthly rate of the year and worst since November 2019.
In the last month of the year, food and non-alcoholic beverages recorded price increases of 4.4 percent. Meat prices, meanwhile, increased at a double-digit rate in December, with some cuts in Buenos Aires Province rising by more than 20 percent, according to INDEC’s data.
Argentina has suffered from high inflation for many years. In 2019, prices surged by 53.8 percent. This year’s rate was kept artificially low by price and currency controls, with the country now entering its third straight year of recession, with poverty currently standing at 40.9 percent.
Commenting on the rate prior to INDEC’s report, Economy Ministry Martín Guzmán observed that "at the end of 2020 certain regulations were relaxed, which is also important ]if we are] to maintain adequate incentives for production."
"We understood that the combination of the relaxation of certain regulations on prices, more seasonal issues, plus what has been going on in terms of the evolution of international prices and how that affects commodities and the values of the production chain, was going to generate inflation at such levels," Guzmán said at a meeting with businessmen, acknowledging that prices had risen quicker at the end of the year.
The minister argued, however, that price increases would slow slightly next year.
"We have proposed a comprehensive macro[-economic] scheme in which inflation is expected to continue to decline, approximately at around five percentage points per year, in a consistent way," he said.
Some private analysts do not agree, however, predicting that a rise in economic activity next year will push inflation closer to 50 percent per annum.
Argentina’s rate of inflation is the highest in Latin America bar crisis-stricken Venezuela, which suffers from hyperinflation.