Argentina's inflation for the month of February of 2022 has reached 4.7% on average, the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec) announced Tuesday. It was the highest percentage since March of last year and was driven chiefly by increases in the price of food due to droughts, heatwaves, and fires.
In the Greater Buenos Aires (GBA) area, food prices rose way above the national average of 8.6%, thus raising doubts about the effectiveness of Domestic Trade Secretary Roberto Feletti's Cared-for prices program.
Behind Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages came Transportation (4.9%), driven mainly by the rise in fuels, followed by Household Equipment and Maintenance (4.4%), Indec reported.
After these figures, expectations for March have grown from 4% to around 6% due to several increases around 22% for the GBA and 20% nationwide, including a average 11% rise in gasoline since Monday, 6% in medical insurance and 13% in private schooling.
All these increases add pressure to the inertial inflation: the core basket rose 4.5% in the month in the country's average and accumulated 7.9% so far this year. Meanwhile, regulated prices rose 3.1% in the month -mainly due to fuel increases- and totaled 5.9% between January and February.
The Economy Ministry blamed the sharp increments on the war between Russia and Ukraine: The indicator was affected by the impact of the increase in international prices of the main commodities, due to the drought and the conflict in Ukraine. The greatest impact was in Food, and the most affected items were Dairy products, Bread and cereals and Meat and by-products, according to an official statement.
With February's figure, inflation accumulated 8.8% in the first two months of the year, when in the first two months of last year it had totaled 7.8%. The year-on-year mark for February was 52.3%.
Faced with the imminent release of these figures, President Alberto Fernández vowed to put an end to speculators and announced that comes Friday the war against inflation starts in Argentina; the State has to be present to put justice where the market generates injustice.
Regarding Russia's military operation in Ukraine, Fernández said it was the greatest economic complication suffered by the world, because it prompted a tremendous struggle for food, and prices are flying [high] all over the world.
Fernández added that we would like that not to happen to us now, because we are having a hard time recovering.