The Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, was optimistic in recent days due to the slowdown in inflation.
After the record of 25.5% in December, he predicted a variation of 20% in January and a lower figure in February due to the drop in demand due to the strong recession underway and the fiscal adjustment.
economists do not believe the decline will be that rapid or linear.
Private consulting firms predict that
inflation will remain high and could even reach 22% in March
due to the ongoing rate hike, increases in regulated prices - such as gasoline and prepaid bills - and the possibility of
a new exchange rate adjustment
due to the appreciation of the official dollar, one of the government's anchors to contain prices.
Although towards the end of January the LCG weekly food index reflected a volatile convergence towards rates of 1%, in
the first week of February it recorded a rebound to 3.4%
Econviews pointed out an acceleration of 3.8% in the same period in GBA supermarkets for the food, perfumery and cleaning basket, the same level estimated by EcoGo.
This month the
250% increase in transportation in the AMBA
ordered last week will weigh, which adds 10 points to inflation;
new increases in gasoline due to the update of the fuel tax and the eventual increase in electricity and gas rates, with a progressive impact in the next four months, since in April the removal of subsidies for most users would be completed.
We expect inflation around 22% in February and a similar percentage in March
if the postponed regulated increases are carried out," said Florencia Iragui, an economist at LCG.
"In this context, we do not see a disinflation path as auspicious as the one the minister foresees when expecting single-digit records in April," the consulting firm estimated in a report.
Caputo pointed out
Caputo pointed out
last week in an interview with LN+
that the level of inflation "is still very high, but below what is expected"
and assured that "this is the sign that the fiscal anchor is working."
He also ruled out a new devaluation, but several consulting firms believe that high inflation will probably demand a new correction of the official exchange rate, currently running at 2% monthly.
For Equilibra, the difficulties that Javier Milei's management will face will be that "
the economy will go through a strong recession with high inflation
and that this dynamic will give rise to many sources of social and political conflicts."
Thus, although the CPI slowed down in January due to food and non-alcoholic beverages, regulated prices rose 28.5% on the average for the month.
"This price segment will continue to lead inflation in February and March, when
significant increases are made in the areas of transportation, gas, electricity, gasoline and telephony
, among others. The increase in energy could exceed 100% in February and that of transportation approach 70%. Prepaid companies announced another 30% increase for February and gasoline will also do so," the consultant explained.
Then, for March, a month in which inflation is seasonally higher, Equilibra estimates that energy and transportation rearrangements will continue and adjustments will come in education, to which parity payments will have to be added.
Given this panorama, the consulting firm expects that
the February-March two-month period will have an average inflation of around 20% monthly
According to the Central Bank's Market Expectations Survey, inflation will slow down to drop to 21.9% in January, 18% in February, 15.3% in March and 13% in April.
Along the same lines, Analytica expects 18.6% in February and 14.8% in March, due to the lower transfer to prices of the mega devaluation arranged last December.
EcoGo forecasts inflation of 14.1% in February, but with a rebound in March to between 16 and 18%.
The core is low and the regulated ones, which are the ones that drive, are delayed
. Transportation applied the increase a few days ago and the electricity increases (which have less weight than gas) are only for higher-income users (30% of residential )," said Lucio Garay Méndez, from the consulting firm.