Inflation in Argentina surpasses 100 percent in historic spike | Inflation News

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The country’s inflation has not exceeded 100 percent in more than three decades, as the value of Argentina’s currency falls.

Inflation in the South American country of Argentina has risen 100 percent for the first time since 1991, according to the government’s latest consumer price index.

The National Institute of Statistics and Accounts (INDEC) released its February report on Tuesday, marking Argentina’s annual inflation at 102.5 percent as the country continues to suffer from one of its worst economic crises in decades .

In February alone, inflation rose by 6.6 per cent, with food and drinks identified as the biggest hit. INDEC credited the 9.8-percent increase in food costs to steep prices for meat, milk and egg products.

The latest inflation jump comes as Argentina struggles with a historic drought, its worst in nearly 60 years, and wildfires in areas such as the northern Corrientes region.

Children pile into a blue plastic pool outside a house
Children play in a plastic swimming pool in Buenos Aires on March 14 as Argentina battles a massive heat wave [Victor R. Caivano/AP Photo]

The country is a major exporter of soybeans, along with the United States and Brazil, as well as other agricultural products such as corn, wheat and other grains.

But with crops failing in Argentina’s fertile grasslands, known as the Pampas, industry experts have slashed the country’s agricultural output to levels not seen since the turn of the century. High temperatures, believed to be fueled by climate change, have blanketed the country since May 2022.

Argentina has the second largest economy in South America. But for most of the last century, its market has been highly volatile, with the debt crisis of the 1980s fueling persistent hyperinflation throughout that decade.

The inflation crisis peaked in 1989 with rates reaching over 3,000 percent at certain times.

A man counts money in front of a butcher's counter
The value of Argentina’s currency, the peso, has fallen in the face of rising inflation [File: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

Struggling with its spiraling international debt, Argentina arranged a controversial deal in 2018 with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for more than $57bn in credit – the largest loan package in the country’s history funds.

But inflation has soared since 2018, and the country has struggled to keep up with its repayment plan. A new $44bn loan agreement was reached with the IMF in 2022, replacing the 2018 plan.

On Monday, the IMF announced it had reached a “staff-level agreement” to reduce the country’s economic targets under the new debt plan, citing “the challenges of an increasingly severe drought “.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency, shoppers on the outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires expressed frustration with Argentina’s economic struggles and the toll it was taking on their living expenses.

“There’s just nothing left. There is no money. People don’t have anything, so how can they buy?” said Irene Devita, a 74-year-old retiree shopping for groceries.

She told Reuters that she was recently forced to buy tomatoes in anticipation because food costs were beyond her ability to pay.

Another customer, 50-year-old Patricia Quiroga, expressed her frustration because politicians have not been able to stop the inflation.

“I’m tired, tired, just tired of this, of the politicians who fight while the people are dying of hunger,” she told Reuters. “This can’t go on anymore. “

Argentina is going to hold general elections, including for president, this October.

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