Argentina: Inflation soars to highest level in five months
August 16, 2013
According to official figures, consumer prices for the Great Buenos Aires area added 0.9% in July over the previous month, which was above the 0.8% increase recorded in June. Higher prices for recreation and culture as well as for household equipment and maintenance were the main drivers behind the price increase. As a result of the rise in July, annual headline inflation inched up from 10.5% in June to 10.6% in July, the highest level in five months. LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panellists see official inflation at 10.4% by the end of 2013, which is down 0.2 percentage points from last month's estimate. Participants estimate that official inflation will rise to 11.3% by the end of next year.
Official inflation data published by the National Statistics Institute (INDEC) have been met with suspicion ever since a controversial methodological change was implemented in 2008. These statistical issues have made Argentina the first country to ever be censured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for not supplying accurate economic data under a procedure that could force Argentina's government into "compulsory withdrawal" from the IMF. Against this backdrop, Argentinean authorities revealed that a new inflation index, developed in cooperation with IMF officials, will be unveiled before 29 September, which is the deadline established by the IMF to address the data quality issue.
A group of opposition lawmakers has been collecting independent inflation estimates since 2011 in order to develop an alternative monthly inflation gauge. According to this so-called "Congress Index" (IPC-Congreso), consumer prices increased 2.55% over the previous month in July (June: +1.63% month-on-month) and annual inflation rose from 24.0% in June to 24.9% in July, the highest level in five months. Independent analysts surveyed by LatinFocus expect consumer prices to increase 26.3% in 2013, which is up 0.1 percentage points over last month's expectation. For 2014, analysts see inflation rising to 28.8%.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions