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ECONOMY | 12-03-2020 17:16

Inflation in February came in at 2%, the lowest in two years

Prices increases slow to slowest in the last two years, according to INDEC. Inflation in last 12 months now totals 50.3%.

Inflation in February slowed to two percent, Argentina's lowest level in the last two years, the INDEC national statistics bureau has revealed.

Prices have risen by 50.3 percent over the last 12 months, data shows.

February's data compares to a 2.3-percent rise registered in January. Prices had soared by 3.7 percent in December. 

Argentina's inflation in 2019 was one of the highest in the world, reaching 53.8 percent, with the economy locked in recession since mid-2018 and a drop in gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.1 percent registered last year.

In February, food and beverages recorded increases of 2.7 percent, said INDEC. Hotels and restaurants rose 3.1 percent on average, with a jump due to the summer holidays.

Healthcare (up 0.4 percent) and housing, water and electricity (+up 0.6 percent) showed the smallest increase, thanks to sectoral agreements reached with the government. President Alberto Fernández has sought to tamp down inflation with a freeze on utilities and public transport and has appealed to businesses to slow increases.

Argentina's leading banks and consulting firms are expecting a 40 percent increase in consumer prices in 2020 overall – that's down from an estimate of 41.7 percent in January, according to the Central Bank's latest February survey of expectations, which also predicts a 1.2-percent decline in GDP.

The government, who has been in power for three months, has assured that it will not make any inflationary projections until it manages to stabilise the economy and finishes negotiations to restructure Argentina's heavy public debt burden that it considers unpayable.

In an event with businessmen last week, Fernandez asked them to help "contain" the rise in prices.

"We need you to help contain prices responsibly. We need them to accompany us because we are going to be a better society the day we know that no Argentine is hungry," Fernández said.

- TIMES/NA

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