Argentina consumer prices rose 5.9% in September, the country’s statistics agency said on Wednesday, the sharpest jump in a year amid a flaring economic crisis in Latin America’s no. 3 economy. That brought year-to-date inflation to 37.7%, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) said, while rolling 12-month inflation was running at 53.5%.
The jump comes after inflation began to stir again in August following a shock primary election defeat for market-friendly President Mauricio Macri, which triggered a sharp slide in the peso currency. Price rises had been cooling down until then.
Argentina, getting ready for presidential elections at the end of the month, has long struggled to tame inflation, which hurts consumers as wages fall behind fast rising prices.
The monthly jump was the fastest since September 2018 when inflation rose 6.5% as the country was buffeted by debt and currency crises. Inflation in the grain producing country is expected to rise around 55% this year.
On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund predicted that inflation would close out the year at 57.3%. It also predicted that prices would increase by 39.2% in 2020.
The items registering the highest increases under INDEC's Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September were footwear and clothing (9.5%) and health (8.3%) and food (5.7%). In contrast, public utilities – tamped down by a freeze introduced by the government in the wake of the PASO meltdown – rose by only two percent, with education up only a single point.
Prices in Greater Buenos Aires in general increased by 5.8%, INDEC revealed, with the Pampas and the Northeast both seeing rises of over six percent (6.1% and 6.2%)
Inflation in Argentina during 2018 reached 47.6%.