Live News: IMF chief warns global growth will bottom in 2023

Argentina ended the year with an annual inflation rate of 95 percent, putting the South American country just outside the top five nations with triple-digit inflation worldwide.

Prices rose 5.1 percent in December, according to state statistics agency Indec, rising slightly after three straight months of decline, bringing the 12-month reading to 94.8 percent. That was the highest rate since 1991, when the country was just emerging from a hyperinflationary crisis.

The rising prices were largely attributed to a bout of central bank money printing and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Argentina is among the six countries with the highest rates over the past year, but lags behind Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Venezuela, Syria and Sudan, which experienced triple-digit inflation over the past year.

Argentina’s Finance Minister Sergio Massa attributed December’s modest drop to a price control scheme called “Fair Prices,” or Precios Justos, which temporarily froze the cost of over 1,700 goods until December 2023. Similar price controls introduced in 2021 failed to curb inflation. The minister added that monthly price increases could drop to 3 percent by April.

Economists widely expect Argentina’s inflation to remain stubbornly high in 2023 as the country enters a year of presidential elections, and are skeptical about the effectiveness of recent government measures.

Earlier this week, the World Bank warned that bringing inflation below 90 percent will be a complex challenge in 2023.

Consumer sentiment in Argentina continued to deteriorate. The value of the local peso at the widely used parallel exchange rate has fallen to historic lows against the US dollar as savers, fearing further depreciation, swap their pesos for more trusted assets. The peso fell to 360 against the dollar on Thursday. Live News: IMF chief warns global growth will bottom in 2023

Adam Bradshaw

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