Inflation is continuing to accelerate, the INDEC national statistics bureau revealed today, as it posted data indicating that consumer prices rose by 3.8 percent in February.
Driven by increases in fuels, utilities, food and beverages, inflation for the month outpaced private estimates and the rate registered the previous month in January. Prices have now risen by 6.8 percent in just the first two months of the year, casting a further shadow over the government's hopes that inflation would slow in 2019.
INDEC's figures indicate inflation has now accelerated for a second straight month. Over the last 12 months, prices in Argentina have now risen by 51.3 percent in total, the highest annual pace since President Mauricio Macri took office in late 2015.
February's hikes were led by notable increases of 5.7 percent in food and beverages and 6.4 percent for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.
The north of Argentina was hit the hardest, with the provinces of Formosa, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones registering price increases of 4.5 percent. In contrast, Patagonia saw prices rose by three percent on average.
Later in the day, Central Bank President Gustavo Sandleris admitted inflation was “too high” and promised to take new measures to curb the rate. The financial institution's latest periodic report on price rises predicted inflation in 2019 would surpass 30 percent.
The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) most recent annual estimate, issued last year, predicted prices would rise 20 percent in 2019, officials there have indicated that projection will be raised.
On Thursday, Sandleris said the Central Bank would extend its policy of freezing monetary base growth until the end of the year, though he said the institution would not freeze the exchange rate as a measure to lower inflation.
He also said that Argentina's non-intervention trading band for the peso, previously agreed with the International Monetary Fund last year, would be tweaked so the currency depreciated more gradually.