Photo via EPPA

According to consulting firm Ecolatina, 2016 as a whole finished with a 40.1 percent rise in prices, even though it was estimated that in the month of December inflation only climbed 1.6 per cent. (Only.)

In its ‘Weekly Report’, Ecolatina highlighted that “despite the modest increase in prices registered in December 2016 (increase of 1.6 percent), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Buenos Aires Capital and its surrounding urban areas increased by 40.1 percent overall last year. This was 11 percentage points higher than in 2015 and more than two percentage points higher than in 2014.”

Perhaps more startlingly, the report noted that 2016’s inflation increase was “only just lower than in 2002 (an increase of 41 percent).”

“The prices of goods and services regulated by the Government were the ones that grew most in 2016,” Ecolatina explained. These prices, according to their research, climbed 66 percent over the last year as a result of new tariffs in Capital and Greater Buenos Aires. Areas affected most included electricity (up 467 percent for the year), water (up 300 percent), gas (up 254 percent) and public transport (up by 70 percent).

On Wednesday, INDEC will publish the inflation figures for the month of December, which estimates have put at around 1.5 per cent. According to the Buenos Aires Government, the cost of living during December increased by less than 1.5 per cent, while the year as a whole saw an increase of 40 percent in living costs.

The Central Bank has forecast that inflation in December will be below 1.5 per cent, which would mean that the financial authority “would meet its target for the last quarter.”

If this is the case, it will be the lowest rate recorded in December for years. In December 2012, the increase was 2 percent; in 2013, 2.3 percent; in 2014, 1.5 percent; and in the last month of 2015, it was 3.9 percent.

There are even more discrepancies once we include other consulting firms, however.  Consulting firm Bein for example, has predicted a sharper increase: 1.7 per cent for December and 39.9 per cent for 2016 overall. Meanwhile, the latest CPI report suggested a 1.6 per cent increase for December, while household costs grew by 2.6 percent due mainly to the increase in gas tariffs and the prices of foodstuffs rose by 1.9 per cent.

Basically, December was alright compared to the year as a whole, but that is not saying much.