Argentina’s inflation soars above 100% for first time in three decades

A man waits for customers inside his greengrocer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as food prices increase by 9.8% in just one month. Credit: AP

Argentina's inflation rate has risen past 100% for the first time since the end of hyperinflation in the early 90s.

New figures released by the country’s statistics agency, the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC), show inflation jumped by 102.5% in February compared to the same month in 2022.

The historic jump comes as the government struggles to control rocketing prices and puts Argentina's inflation rate among the highest in world.

In comparison, the UK's inflation rate in January 2023 was 10.1% - its highest level in 40 years.

In just weeks, prices rose by 6.6% in the South American country between January and February and by 13.1% in the first two months of the year combined, according to the figures.

The prices of fruit and meat have been amongst the hardest hit by rising costs in Argentina. Credit: AP

Food and non-alcoholic drink prices saw the biggest jump with a 9.8% increase in February compared to the previous month, followed by IT and communications rising 7.8% and hospitality (7.5%).

While costs are soaring now, they still do not compare to the sky high average annual rates of 2,600% that Argentina suffered in 1989 and 1990. 

The period of hyperinflation came after the country's economy began to struggle in the 1980s when financial markets collapsed.

Prices soared as the currency steadily depreciated and the government turned to the banks to print more money.

As the economy spiralled out of control, the Argentine government took action and overhauled the financial system with a series of landmark reforms in the early 90s.

Now, the country faces crippling inflation which means prices change for Argentinians almost weekly.

February is the 13th month in a row that it reported a monthly inflation rate above 4%, which is considered the threshold for healthy economies.

In a bid to tackle rising prices and the devaluation of the Argentinian peso, President Alberto Fernandez's government has subsidised some protected foreign exchange rates dedicated to specific sectors of the economy, which effectively makes it cheaper for certain businesses to purchase dollars on the exchange market.

But the rising cost of living has lead to protests, with groups previously taking to the streets outside the Social Development Ministry in Buenos Aires in November. People were demanding more jobs and money aid from the government as inflation rates rose.

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