Argentina's inflation rate slowed last month to 8.3 percent, the INDEC national statistics bureau reported on Monday in its final update before the presidential run-off.
Consumer prices rose 8.3 percent in October on a monthly basis, a notch below September’s figure. The cost of living has risen 120 percent in the first 10 months of 2023. From a year ago, annual inflation accelerated to 142.7 percent, according to government data.
The highest increases last month were seen in communications, up 12.6 percent following hikes in the price of telephone and Internet services.
Clothing and footwear rose 11 percent, due to the change in season, and household appliances and maintenance was up 10.8 percent.
October’s figure was the bureau's last update on consumer prices before Sunday's second-round vote putting Economy Minister Sergio Massa, for the ruling Unión por la Patria coalition, against national lawmaker Javier Milei, for La Libertad Avanza.
News that inflation has slowed is a minor piece of good news for the government. Prices had accelerated by more than 12 percent in the preceding two months. Nevertheless, the October figure is the fourth-highest monthly rate of the past year.
Most analysts had expected October’s inflation rate to come in at between nine and ten percent, noting sharp rises in the price of foodstuffs.
INDEC’s report said food and beverages rose 7.7 percent. The largest hikes were seen in lettuce (40 percent) and white rice(35.6 percent).
Last week, the Institute for Workers' Statistics (IET) had reported a monthly rate of 9.8 percent, 0.4 points up on the official figure of 9.4 percent issued by the Buenos Aires City government.
According to weekly indicators issued by the Economy Ministry, consumer prices rose 2.3 percent in the first week of November.
The lowest monthly increases in October were recorded in health (up 5.1 percent) and education (up 6.6 percent).
The region most affected by inflation in October was Greater Buenos Aires (8.6 percent), according to INDEC, with the lowest regional rate recorded in the northeast and Cuyo (both 7.4 percent).
Economists see annual inflation near 200 percent over the next 12 months, according to the average forecast from the Central Bank’s last monthly survey.