Argentina: Inflation accelerates in March
April 12, 2012
In March, consumer prices added 0.94% over the previous month, which was above the 0.74% rise recorded in February. The monthly increase was mainly driven by higher prices for education and recreation. As a result, annual headline inflation inched up to 9.8% from February's 9.7%. Official inflation data published by the National Statistics Institute (INDEC) are continually met with suspicion ever since a controversial change to the price variation measurement methodology was implemented three years ago. As a result, private sector analysts have begun to report independent inflation estimates that differ notably from the official figures. The government has repeatedly denied allegations that INDEC data are manipulated and, in March 2011, went a step further by fining a number of consulting firms for publishing independent inflation estimates. In early February 2012, however, the IMF gave a six-month deadline to Argentinean authorities to implement specific measures in order to improve the quality of inflation data, but INDEC has failed to act so far. Consumers share private analysts' more realistic inflation assessments. According to a Universidad Torcuato di Tella (UTDT) survey conducted in March, households believe that consumer prices will increase 30% over the next 12 months, which was above the 25% reported in February and equaled the survey's historical high previously reached in March 2011.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions