Friday, February 8, 2008

Argentina Inflation January 2008

Argentina's government said consumer prices rose less than forecast in January, opening yet another chapter in the now year-long running dispute about the accuracy of the official data. Argentine consumer prices rose 0.9 percent in January from December and 8.2 percent from January 2007, according to data presented by the national statistics institute yesterday.

Inflation data from the institute, known as Indec, has been repeatedly questioned by independent economists, opposition leaders and an statistics office employees union since then-President Nestor Kirchner began changing personnel in January 2007 in an effort to "improve quality". Kirchner's wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, succeeded him on Dec. 10 promising to extend her husband's economic policies.

Estimates of true annual inflation range across the 15 to 20 percent region.

Wholesale prices rose 15 percent in January from a year earlier and 0.7 percent from the month before, Indec said.

Buenos Aires-based El Cronista newspaper reported yesterday that the International Monetary Fund has formally contacted Indec asking for clarification on how it measures inflation and on whether employees have been fired for protesting data manipulation.