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ECONOMY | 09-03-2020 08:00

Central Bank chief predicts February inflation data will be 'below 2%'

Alberto Fernández’s administration will strengthen its economic interventions to combat inflation as experts forecast a deceleration of the price increases for February.

Central Bank chief Miguel Ángel Pesce has predicted that inflation in February slowed to below two percent, in what would be a welcome sign for Argentina's economy.

According to the Mendoza-born economist, runaway prices increases have been spurred by "strong devaluations nder the previous Government and strong rate adjustments," he said.

"Therefore, this type of inflation is not resolved with classical instruments – such as the rate or the freezing of monetary aggregates, which was the previous government's strategy – but through an agreement, which is what has begun to arrive, for example with Precios Ciudados [price-controls scheme]," he argued.

Pesce said agreements to reduce price increases were helping to slow inflation and credited Precios Ciudados with having a strong impact. 

"We had low inflation in January and in February there will be another reduction: it will be below two percent," he concluded.

The INDEC national statistics bureau will post official inflation data on Thursday, March 12.

Pesce also commented on Argentina's debt restructuring and said the institution he leads would soon prepare a report on the level on debt taken on by the Mauricio Macri administration.

Last week, at a meeting of President Alberto Fernández's Economic Cabinet led by Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero, officials discussed all means they could take to halt price increases. They also addressed was to boost industrial activity and boost consumption, the Télam state news agency reported.

 

Private consultancy firms and economists said they expected inflation in February to have 2.5 percent next month, according to the most recent Central Bank survey.

 

President Fernández has called on employers and firms to help Argentina's battle to tamp down inflation.At a regional business event organised by Inter-American Trade and Production Council (CICYP), the Peronist leader asked employers to “commit themselves to Argentina, not only to the firm's results.”

“It’s not possible for prices to continue to rise; that must stop because there is no logic to it and we are going to be inflexible,” he exhorted.

Price increases were also a focal point of the president's address to Congress two weeks ago.

"We are going to demand total responsibility from price makers", he told lawmakers, saying Argentina would no longer accept "the abuse of those who preserve their profitability at the expense of consumers condemned to pay for their excesses," he declared.

- TIMES/PERFIL/NA

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