Consumer prices increase 20.9 percent in 12 months
Prices rose 1.1 percent in January, an inflation rate that is practically flat from December, according to the INDEC statistics bureau.
The inflation rate — which was 0.1 percentage point higher than December — meant that in the 12 months ending in January prices rose 20.9 percent.
The federal government’s consumer-price index released yesterday showed the main increases were registered in the leisure category, which rose 4.6 percent at the height of the summer holiday season.
Tourism prices, meanwhile, rose 11.6 percent, accommodation and tours, 17.9 percent, theatres and cinemas 4.6 percent. Tourism transport was the sole exception, with a decline of 1.6 percent.
All other categories registered increases below one percentage point, consolidating a decelerating trend that has been evident in recent months.
Food and drinks rose 0.8 percent, housing and basic services 0.8 percent, home maintenance 0.9 percent, health care 1.9 percent, transport and communications 0.7 percent and education 0.3 percent.
The increase in health care costs is tied to a 2.9 percent rise in drug prices and a one percent increase in the price for medical consultations. In the food and drinks category, prices rose the most for vegetables (2.1 percent), salt and spices (2.6 percent), dairy products (0.8 percent) and oils and fats (1.3 percent).
The five percent drop on fuel prices authorized by the federal government last month led to a 5.6 percent drop in the category of household fuel. On the other hand, electricity prices rose 5.9 percent, running water 1.1 percent and communications 2.6 percent. Newspapers, books and magazines also increased 3.2 percent and cigarettes 6.1 percent.
The first consumer-price data of the year comes after prices soared 23.9 percent in 2014, the highest annual rate in the nearly 12 years that the country has been ruled by the Victory Front (FpV), according to INDEC. The results also indicated that the rate of inflation decelerated in the second half of last year, a trend that is expected to continue.
The federal government released a new national price index last year as required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lift the motion of censure applied to Argentina due to the lack of credibility in its inflation and economic growth data. The index was created in consultation with the IMF, which is now assessing the changes carried out by the government.
The January figure falls short from what private consultancies and the Buenos Aires City government report, both of which claim last month’s consumer prices rose around two percent.
Date: February 14, 2015