Thursday, May 23, 2024

ECONOMY | 12-04-2024 16:56

Inflation slowed to 11% in March, annual rate hits 287%

Consumer price hikes continue to slow, but remain in double digits. Education records highest increases, rising 52.7 percent as increases as new school year begins.

Inflation hit 11 percent in March and consumer prices in Argentina have increased 287.9 percent over the last 12 months, according to data from the INDEC national statistics bureau.

The news will be welcomed by President Javier Milei’s government, which can point to an ongoing deceleration in his first four months in office. Nevertheless, consumer prices have increased by 51.6 percent in the first quarter of 2024.

Inflation in February was 13.4 percent, a slowdown from the 20.6 percent recorded  in January

INDEC’s consumer price index shows that, as expected, the education sector recorded the highest increases last month, with prices up 52.7 percent as the school year got underway. 

The second-highest hikes were seen in communications (15.9 percent) due to increases in telephone and Internet services. Utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels) rose 13.3 percent, led mainly by power. Transport, in response to the removal of large subsidies for public systems, rose 13 percent.

The division with the highest incidence across all regions was food and non-alcoholic beverages, which rose 10.5 percent in March. 

Hikes in the prices of meat and related products, milk, dairy products and eggs, vegetables, tubers and pulses and bread and cereals stood out. Lettuce, which soared 66.7 percent, and round tomatoes, up 56.3 percent, were the food items that rose the most last month.

The two categories with the lowest variations were restaurants and hotels (8.3 percent) and household equipment and maintenance (five percent).

Price hikes have slowed in the first few months of President Javier Milei’s government but have remained in double digits.

"The inflation rate is falling, accompanied by a sharp decline in the level of economic activity and a rise in prices measured in dollars," wrote former economy minister Domingo Cavallo in a blog post reacting to the news.

Prior to the release of the data, private analysts had forecast a rate of between 10 and 13 percent, with some surveys even hinting at a single digit.

Inflation in Buenos Aires City in March reached 13.1 percent, according to the local government.

According to the most recent Central Bank market expectations survey, which consults top analysts and institutions, analysts expected a figure of 12.5 percent for March.

The same analysts forecast a rate of 10.8 percent for April.



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