(Video credits: El Pais)
Inflation rates in Argentina are, like other businesses in the country, a rather murky subject. It seems to be another of those “everybody knows but nobody talks” topics.
The government says the inflation rate is at approximately at 11.1% while private economists say real inflation is at the scary figure of 26%.
So what does the Economy Minister have to say?
Recently interviewed by a Greek journalist, when asked about the inflation in the country, the Minister of Economy of Argentina, Hernan Lorenzino, asked for the video to be cut.The video was cut but the microphones were still on and you could clearly hear the minister stating that:
“I want to leave. Also, talking about inflation statistics in Argentina is very complex. Ok? I would rather leave it at the last answer I gave you and not get into the… into the topic anymore, ok?”
A country that has had its fair share of economic disasters (hyperinflation in the 80s, the collapse of the economy at the beginning of the century…), it appears that economic turmoil is not ready to abandon Argentina anytime in the near future.
The previous problems and remains of the economic collapse are still present, like weight from the past on modern days, reason why current president Cristina Fernandez and her late husband (and former president) thought it would be best to have officials implement price controls and keep a careful eye on the books and the once again rising inflation.
Official economic statistics in the country have been under a lot of guess work after former President Nestor Kirchner replaced the INDEC staff with political appointees. The IMF has urged the country to address the issue and has threatened the Argentina with losing its borrowing and voting rights and possible expulsion from the fund if it doesn’t provide more accurate statistics.
In the mean time inflation is so bad that Argentinians are dreaming that they could save in dollars but the government won’t let them, which leaves gold as a good alternative and the Banco de la Ciudad, the only bank to lend to individuals has said to be having a hard time supplying all the demand.
To summarize, the unions are striking, the IMF is having a fit, inflation is predicted to reach 30% (but then again, in this case, who really knows what figures are reliable) and the Economy Minister doesn’t want to talk about any of this.
At the risk of sounding insensitive, all I can say is: at least they have the wine.
Chiara Romano Bosch.