Inflation and prices: 10% a month is around the corner

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The April inflation data is not surprising. The economy works with high inertia and a large part of it sees the free dollar as the only price which, in a context of such dispersion of the same, serves as a reference. In essence, a reflection that the Argentine currency is losing another of its functions, that of a unit of measurement.

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The dollar had lagged behind prices and, by catching up in recent months, the inflation rate is accelerating. Therefore, the economy is set to reach a double-digit monthly number if no measures are taken to counter it. These measures should be implemented sooner rather than later, as May appears to be picking up on April due to last month’s carryover effect and increases in some regulated goods and services.

The main measure is not that difficult to take, is to accept that you are facing a complex situation. Which the Government has relativized by saying several times that “the worst is over …”. If this inflation has to correct the official exchange rate, the tariffs and mounts a high inertia, there is no reason to believe that this will be the case, indeed, the worst is yet to come.

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That doesn’t necessarily imply that the economy will face hyperinflation, but flirting with that possibility could materialize.

If the economic cabinet deigns to set a realistic inflation target, it is possible that it will shift from the role of amplifier of uncertainty to that of stabilizer. If the first is to speculate that inflation will continue to spiral out of control, the second is to start building credibility. At some point it is necessary to start this task and announce that the BCRA will use the tools at its disposal to curb inflation. In other words, stop looking at the Secretary of Commerce and start looking at the BCRA for inflation data explanations.

This year’s issuance perhaps exceeds the target set by the IMF, these are figures that the BCRA does not announce. Transparency has become central to the conduct of standard monetary policy in any normal country, not just those operating under inflation-targeting regimes.

Third, and related to credibility, is the little-discussed discussion of what BCRA board decisions look like. The natural recommendation is that it be composed of independent professionals, or at least that they represent different points of view on the performance of the economy. Something where our monetary authority is still far from achieving.

These first measures do not exclude the possibility of being accompanied by heterodox measures such as the monitoring of price increases, or even the attempt to face discussion tables to establish agreements on prices and wages. But these must surely function as second-order measures behind fiscal and monetary discipline. Something that, in addition to respecting them, must be announced and respected, giving the maximum possible responsibility to society.

Source: Clarin

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