By Steve H. Hanke – In addition to facing an acute Covid-19 crisis, Argentina's deadbeat economy is collapsing, and, as usual, the inflation noose is around Argentines’ necks. Argentina’s official inflation rate for August 2020 is 40.70% per year. And, for once, Argentina’s official rate is fairly close to the rate that I calculate each day using high-frequency data and purchasing power parity theory, a methodology that has long proved its worth when compared with official statistics. Today, I measure Argentina’s annual inflation rate at 37%, but probably not for long — the noose is generally followed by the trapdoor.26 comments
Argentina's peso currency plunged further into record low territory after the central bank tightened currency controls. The peso opened almost 0.1% weaker at 75.25 per U.S. dollar, traders said, and the country risk rose 38 basis points to 1,157. The black market peso or blue dollar plummeted 9.7% to open at a new all-time low 145 per U.S. dollar.
Brazil’s central bank kept its key interest rate at a record-low 2.00% on Wednesday, pledging to stimulate the coronavirus-hit economy with “forward guidance” rather than more rate cuts because of the risk to financial market stability that they could pose.
Black beans are up nearly 30%, beef about 40% – Brazilians are facing a skyrocketing rise in food prices, caused by record exports to China and strong domestic demand. This rebound, amid the economic and social crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic, has led the president, Jair Bolsonaro, to ask the owners of supermarkets to show patriotism and keep their profit margin as low as possible.
Bloomberg’s Misery Index, which tallies inflation and unemployment outlooks for 60 economies shows that almost all of the economies surveyed are projected to be more miserable this year amid Covid-19, with analysts expecting increased joblessness and tepid growth.
Argentina's July inflation rate was 1.9%, the government's Indec statistics agency reported on Thursday, bringing the seven-month rate to 15,8% and the 12-month rate to 42.4%. During July the items which showed the main increase were Housing maintenance, 3,9% and Leisure and Culture, 3,3%, with a special emphasis in electronics and home appliances.
Brazilian inflation in July rose the most in four years, figures showed on Friday, driven by fuel and housing costs, although the annual measure remained significantly below the central bank’s year-end target. The IPCA index rose 0.36% in July, government statistics agency IBGE said.
Argentina is rushing to import banknotes as its national mint struggles to keep pace with soaring central bank issuance and inflation of more than 45%. The mint is importing printed bills for the first time in five years and is also boosting its purchases of the paper used to make banknotes, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Brazil’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points to a record low of 2.25% on Wednesday, as expected, and said there was some room left for further monetary stimulus to support an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Argentina's 12-month inflation slowed in May as many consumers stayed home while shops and other businesses mostly remained closed because of social distancing measures intended to control the spread of the coronavirus.