Argentina monthly inflation seen back in single digits in April

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By Hernan Nessi

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s monthly inflation rate likely dipped back into single digits for the first time in half a year in April, analysts polled by Reuters estimated, amid a gradual slowdown in price rises as the country’s economy stalls.

The embattled South American country likely saw the consumer price index, or CPI, advance 9% in the fourth month of the year, the median response from 22 analysts showed, down from 11% in March and well below a peak above 25% in December.

Libertarian President Javier Milei, an economist and former pundit, has sought to squeeze liquidity in the markets with tough austerity measures since taking office on Dec. 10, cutting state spending and stopping central bank funding of the Treasury.

That has gradually helped temper monthly inflation, but hurt activity in the real economy. The country also still has the highest annual inflation rate in the world, creeping toward 300%, which hammers people’s savings and salary levels.

Alejandro Giacoia, economist at the consulting firm Econviews, said a controlled and gradual devaluation of the peso known as a “crawling peg” was helping anchor inflation, while the economic slowdown was forcing prices to slow.

“The recession also contributed to moderating the rise in prices,” he said. “In May, with the postponed regulated (utilities price) increases, it may go down again, although these prices will have to be corrected at some point.”

Consulting firm Management & Fit said it expected inflation to keep slowing, “driven by the contraction in demand, a product of the situation of real wages, government spending cuts and the decision to delay the increase in service rates.”

The analysts surveyed estimated a monthly April inflation reading ranging from 8% to a maximum 9.7%. The INDEC statistics agency is scheduled to release the official data on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Hernan Nessi)



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