Argentine consumer prices rose 0.5% in February, the smallest gain since June 2009, after supermarkets and home appliance retailers agreed to freeze prices for sixty days, according to the government’s much questioned stats office, Indec.
In the last twelve months inflation has climbed to 10.8%, compared with 11.1% in January, which nevertheless is less than half the 26% estimated by private economists.
Opposition lawmakers on Thursday are scheduled to release estimates of February inflation prepared by economists, who aren’t named because they would be exposed to fines for releasing statistics that aren’t in line with official data.
Argentina’s inflation data has been questioned since early 2007, when then President Nestor Kirchner changed personnel at the agency. On Feb. 1, Argentina became the first country to be censured by the IMF for not providing accurate economic data under a procedure that can end in expulsion from the Washington-based multilateral organization.
In meetings with government officials last month, Argentina’s supermarkets and home appliance retailers agreed to freeze prices from February first to April 1. The accord may be extended for another 120 days, Miguel Calvete, director of the Federation of Chinese Supermarkets and Associations, said on Wednesday.
Argentines see consumer prices rising 30% over the next 12 months, according to a February poll by the Buenos Aires-based Torcuato Di Tella University.