Photo via Ambito

Argentina’s consumer prices rose 2.6 percent in March, according to the government’s Indec statistics agency. The number represents a 0.2 percent increase compared to last month’s, and means that the inflation rate for the first four months of the year reached 9.1 percent.

The trend will have to decelerate in at a rather drastic pace from now on if the government wants to meet its goal of keeping the yearly rate under 18 percent. Other entities dedicated to the same task, such as the IPC Congress and the CGT umbrella union’s agency, indicated that this month’s rate was of 2.1 and 2.4 percent, respectively.

The main sectors that pushed the inflation rate higher last month were apparel (5.1 percent), living expenses and basic services (4.6 percent, mainly pushed by an increase in gas bills), private school tuition (3.2) percent and foods (2.2 percent).

It’s the first time under the Macri administration where establishing a yearly inflation rate is possible, taking into account that there were no official stats between December 2015, when Macri took office, and April 2016. This came as a result of the government’s decision to suspend the entity’s operations in order to restore its indexes, deemed widely unreliable during the some of the years under the Kirchner administration, when then Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno led the agency.

Ever since the new Indec, now led by Jorge Todesca started keeping track of price increases, the inflation rate between last and current May clocked in at 27.5 percent. Most consultancy firms and independent agencies such as the aforementioned concluded that 2016’s inflation rate was around 40 percent.