Argentina ends 2018 with second highest inflation in Latin America

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Argentina ended 2018 with the second-highest inflation figure in Latin America, behind only crisis-wracked Venezuela, the national statistics institute said on Tuesday.

Argentina's inflation rate of 47 percent was also the highest the country recorded since 1991, when inflation hit 84 percent as lawmakers fixed the peso to the dollar.

"Clearly, Argentina is amongst the five countries with the highest inflation," Martin Vauthier from Eco Go consultants told AFP.

"It's very high. Argentina is a surprising case of a society that is used to living with inflation.

"Inflation hasn't been a problem in the world for several years, neither in developed nor emerging countries."

Argentina was hit by two major currency crashes in 2018 that saw the peso lose 50 percent of its value against the dollar. Last month, the country went into recession.

These economic woes forced President Mauricio Macri to head to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with his begging bowl, securing a $56 billion bailout loan.

To do so, he was forced into announcing unpopular austerity measures.

The IMF expects Argentina's gross domestic product to drop by 2.6 percent for 2018 and another 1.6 percent in 2019.

It still leaves the country far ahead of Venezuela, though.

Inflation there hit a staggering 1.35 million percent in 2018 and the IMF predicts it will reach 10 million percent this year.

The country, run by controversial President Nicolas Maduro, has been in recession for the last four years.