HomeTop StoriesThe Argentine government (and a bot) say inflation is declining. Shoppers...

The Argentine government (and a bot) say inflation is declining. Shoppers aren’t so sure

By Horacio Soria and Miguel Lo Bianco

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s government is optimistic its measures to cool one of the world’s highest inflation rates are working. However, shoppers are not yet completely convinced.

The South American country is struggling with annualized inflation of almost 290%, reaching 11% in the month of March alone, official data showed on Friday.

However, that is down from a peak of 25% in December, when new libertarian President Javier Milei took office and sharply devalued the peso. Since then, he has spearheaded tough austerity and cost-cutting measures that have helped reverse a deep budget deficit, win over investors and dampen prices.

“Inflation is slowing sharply,” Economy Secretary Luis Caputo wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. He reposted a social media account called @BotCoto on X, which describes itself as a bot – an automated account – and claims to track supermarket prices at a local chain store.

Opposition politicians have criticized Caputo for citing the bot and another similar story. Reuters could not immediately determine who was behind it.

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Meanwhile, poverty is rising and economic activity has ground to a halt, deepening hardship for millions of people. Prices from groceries to health care are still rising sharply, even in dollars.

“There is no talk of a decline in inflation, it’s just words,” said Maria Gen as she bought fruit and vegetables at a market in San Fernando, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, earlier this week.

“I took advantage of coming to the market thinking that the prices would be cheaper and that they would be exactly the same as in my neighborhood.”

Analysts and economists say core inflation is showing signs of easing. But 11% is still much higher than the price increase most countries see in an entire year.

“Inflation is slowing sharply, but utility rate increases are coming and that will prevent inflation from falling as much as it could,” Argentine economic analyst Aldo Abram said ahead of Friday’s figures. However, the government “nipped the risk of hyperinflation in the bud,” he added.

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Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni told reporters on Thursday that the government would reduce inflation, although it was difficult to say how quickly.

“The end of inflation will be a reality,” he said. “When? Of course we don’t know, because we don’t have a crystal ball.”

(Reporting by Horacio Soria and Miguel Lo Bianco; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Rosalba O’Brien)

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