Published government official rates of inflation for March 2012 have been estimated as less than half of those calculated by private statistics agencies. Data released today by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) showed the wide disparity between official and private figures.
According to INDEC, prices went up only by 0.9% in the last month. On Thursday, however, opposition deputies showed a different inflation rate (2.31%, almost one point more than in January and February) based on studies commissioned to private consultants.
Similarly, privately commissioned reports show that the accumulated inflation figure between April 2011 and February 2012 is of 18.3%. The official INDEC had put the figure at 7.9% instead.
Referring to the price of one of the goods Argentine care most about, the price of yerba mate, sky-rocketed from the 1st of April (+100% in some cases). Opposition deputy Eduardo Amadeo, who yesterday presented the inflation report said, “The increase of the price for the yerba shows that sitting on prices is a gamble that won’t pay off, because behind each product sold at a controlled price there is a producer who is losing money.”
Last February, the London-based publication, ‘The Economist’ magazine, published a very critical article against INDEC, hinting that the organisation has become politicised as a result of the country’s relatively recent history with hyperinflation in the late 1980s.
“Almost no one believes [INDEC]” wrote the Economist, adding that it would no longer use official statistics from INDEC because of the discrepancies between reported inflation figures and the reality of inflation with the Argentine peso.
The statistics agency also released the Consumer Price Index, the System of Wholesale Price Indices and the Index of Construction Cost. In addition, it disclosed data about prices of the so-called Basic Food Basket and Total Food Basket, marking the level of homelessness and poverty in the country.