Buenos Aires Times

economy ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Inflation in March reached 4.7%, reports INDEC

New data means that prices have risen 54.7 percent over the last 12 months, and 11.8% in the first quarter of the year.

Tuesday 16 April, 2019
A supermarket worker prices up a bag of yerba mate in a small store in Buenos Aires City.
A supermarket worker prices up a bag of yerba mate in a small store in Buenos Aires City. Foto:AFP/Juan MABROMATA

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Inflation in March reached 4.7 percent, the INDEC national statistics bureau revealed Tuesday, casting a further cloud over the government's attempts to tackle rampant price increases.

The new data means prices on INDEC's consumer price index have risen by 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019 alone, underlining the difficulties the Mauricio Macri administration faces in moving to tamp down inflation.

INDEC latest update means that prices have risen 54.7 percent over the last 12 months.

Speaking yesterday, President Macri acknowledged that the data for March was likely to be high, while arguing that it had hit a "peak" and would likely go fall lower afterwards.

We hope that after this peak [of inflation] that we will have in March, from here [and] over the years, we will advance step-by-step to eradicate it and become one more country of the vast majority, which have single-digit inflation," the president said at an event in the Buenos Aires City neighbourhood of Parque Patricios.

The president added that Argentines "have started by doing what is appropriate, not living on credit and loans, not spending more than we have."

Large price increases were registered in education (up 17.9 percent) and clothing and footwear (up 6.6 percent) – both of which are influenced by the changing of the seasons – as well as in food and non-alcoholic beverages (up six percent), communications (up 4.4 percent) transportation (up 4.2 percent) and water, electricity and gas (up 2.8 percent).

Rises in food and drink are especially painful for those with the lowest resources, hitting the poorest and less well-off families the most.

In terms of a regional breakdown, inflation in Greater Buenos Aires reached 4.8 percent, with the highest increases overall registered in the northeast of the country, where prices jumped 5.1 percent. 

Core inflation, which is used by the Central Bank to adjust its rates, stood unchanged at 4.6 percent in March.

Argentina currently has one of the highest rates of inflation in the world. In 2018, inflation reached 47.6 percent, as citizens witnessed a sharp fall in purchasing power.

The nation is scheduled to hold a presidential election in October, in which Macri will seek re-election.

- TIMES/AFP/NA/PERFIL

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