Argentina: Inflation stable in April
May 11, 2012
In April, consumer prices added 0.83% over the previous month, which was below the 0.94% rise recorded in March. The monthly increase was mainly driven by higher prices for food and beverages as well as for healthcare. Despite the monthly pick-up, annual headline inflation was unchanged at March's 9.8%. Official inflation data published by the National Statistics Institute (INDEC) are 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 report their own independent inflation estimates, which differ notably from the official figures. The government has repeatedly denied allegations that INDEC data are manipulated and, in April 2011, went a step further by fining a number of consulting firms for publishing their 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 April, households believe that consumer prices will increase 30% over the next 12 months, which was in line with the 30% reported in March and equaled the survey's historical high previously reached in April 2011.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions