Groceries are getting more expensive in Argentina thanks to inflation. Photo via agenhoy.com.ar

Statistic agencies, both governmental and private, are reporting different conclusions on the health of the sales and production markets for this year so far. Alarming statistics report decreased spending and market depressions, whereas others report growth and maintenance. Overall, Indec reports that supermarkets and shopping centers experienced growth in January, but costs and inflation rose too, so the nominal effects are moot.  Foundation of Latin American Economic Investigation (FIEL) reports industry is overall down since the start of the year, but different sectors, like steel and metal industries, are slowing down more than others.

Indec’s January statistics calculated inflation at 1.3 percent, lagging supermarket growth at 21.2 percent (6.4 percent lower than anticipated), and steady shopping center growth at 22.8 percent. Overall, sales increased in both sectors, hence the positive values, but the rising cost of goods due to inflation negated growth potential for both sectors.

Indec reports that the sector’s growth trends were consistent throughout the country, with the exception of less growth (12 percent) in Centro and del Oeste provinces, and maximum growth of 28 percent in Neuquén province.

These results, however, should be taken with a grain of salt, as FIEL statistics reports a 3.8 percent decrease in activity within the food and beverage industry. Research from consulting firm Orlando Ferreres and Associates is even more alarming, reporting an 11.5 percent and 8.2 percent decline in food and beverages sales, respectively.

According to Infobae, reasons for depressed growth in supermarkets may be less purchasing demand from the reitree population, whose overall purchasing is 10 to 11 percent less than that of the general market. Items with the least amount of growth were meat and cleaning supplies.

Shopping centers, Indec reports, are doing well, especially entertainment and recreation departments, who saw increases of 47.1 percent in activity. Clothing, accessories, books and stationary saw declines, however.

In a similarly broad sense, industry sectors were up an down. FIEL reports indicate paper and non-metal industries were minimally affected, suffering only a one percent decline. On the other end of the spectrum, steel and metal sectors were down 8.7 and 10.3 percent, respectively. Also down were cigarette purchases (New Years resolutions, perhaps?). Again, more variable (and contradictory) statistics come from consultant firm Orlando Ferreres and Associates, who report a 15.8 percent rise in plastics production and no change in the construction and textile industries.

According to a report from FIEL, this year’s rains have halted some production industries. Another factor to consider, they say, are the planned pauses in production to maintain equipment and integrate new technology.