Argentina February inflation data “very bad”: government spokesman

BUENOS AIRES, March 16 (Reuters) – Argentina’s government said on Thursday that annual inflation data recorded in February, the highest since 1991, was “very bad” but insisted that the 60% inflation forecast in this year’s budget would be met, said the presidential spokesman.

President Alberto Fernandez has struggled to rein in one of the world’s highest inflation rates, which has put increasing pressure on Argentine consumers. The latest data shows the government is falling behind its targets for the year as key October elections approach, when the ruling Peronist government will try to hang on to power.

Argentina last month recorded an inflation rate of 6.6% compared to January and 102.5% compared to February of the previous year, the highest data since the annual rate of 115% in September 1991. The country ended with a 95% increase in prices in 2022 .

“The inflation data seems obviously bad, very bad and was also not expected,” presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said during a news conference.

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Cerruti explained that the price increase was driven by the worst drought in decades in this major soy-producing country, which led to increases in the price of meat of 20 points, and telecommunications, whose tariffs the government cannot yet regulate.

“We hope that the plan that was supposed to lower the curve, which had these problems, can somehow return to the path that was planned, directed, and that we get there (60% annual inflation),” she added.

Cerruti said “there is no disapproval” of the economy minister, Sergio Massa, on behalf of Fernandez, and that both are constantly talking about measures to contain inflation.

Stabilizing prices is a key task for the government as the presidential election approaches. Fernandez, whose popularity has fallen as the country battles rising inflation, is expected to seek re-election.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski. Author: Anna-Catherine Brigida; Editing by Mark Porter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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