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ECONOMY | 13-02-2020 16:36

Inflation slowed in January to 2.3%, reveals INDEC

Lowest monthly rate recorded since July 2019, which prices increased by 2.2%. Since January 2019, prices in Argentina have increased by 52.9%, reveals bureau.

Inflation in January slowed to 2.3 percent, the INDEC national statistics bureau reported on Thursday. 

It's the lowest monthly rate recorded since July 2019, which prices increased by 2.2 percent. In December 2019, prices had increased in Argentina by 3.7 percent.

Compared with data recorded in January 2019, the cost of living has increased by 52.9 percent on average, the bureau said.

In the first month of 2020, the highest prices increases were registered in recreation and culture (up five percent), as expected due to the holiday season, and food and beverages, which rose 4.7 percent. The latter has a huge impact on those living on the breadline.

"Food and non-alcoholic beverages is the sector with the highest rise in the general price level of the different regions, with a national monthly variation of 4.7 percent," INDEC said in a press release.

ther sectors that recorded increases above the general average were restaurants and hotels (up 4.2 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (up 3.1 percent).

Transportation (1.5 percent), clothing and footwear (1.1 percent), housing, water and electricity (0.6 percent), education (0.5 percent) and communications (0.1 percent) all recorded increases lower than the average rate of inflation in the first month of the year.

The news will come as a boon to the government, which is seeking to tamper down a soaring inflation rate that closed out 2019 at 53.8 percent.

Speaking moments prior to the announcement, President Alberto Fernández said the figure would be "promising but not enough."

"The January data is promising, but not enough," he told Radio Rivadavia, warning that everyone should receive the information "very carefully."

Questioned about criticism from the opposition that his administration did not have an economic plan, he responded forthfully.

"We have a plan. Moreover, we have two. In case ´A´ happens, or if ´B´ happens."

Anaylsts put the lower figure for January down to the impact of currency controls and the government's 180-day freeze on utility rates and public transport prices.

Most consultancy firms predict that prices will increase by more than 41 percent in 2020, with GDP expected to contract by 1.5 percent.

The government has refused to issue forecasts for inflation until it manages to restructure Argentina's debt and stabilise the economy, referring the issue to the Central Bank's monthly survey.

– TIMES/NA

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