Live news: IMF chief predicts global growth will 'bottom out' in 2023

Live news: IMF chief predicts global growth will ‘bottom out’ in 2023

A woman walks past food price signs on a Buenos Aires street on Thursday © Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images

Argentina closed the year with annual inflation accelerating to 95 percent, putting the South American country narrowly outside the top five nations with triple-digit inflation globally.

Prices rose 5.1 percent in December, rising slightly after three straight months of decline and bringing the 12-month figure to 94.8 percent, according to government statistics agency Indec. That was the highest rate since 1991, when the country was coming out of a hyperinflation crisis.

The rise in prices has been largely attributed to a streak of central bank money printing, as well as Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Argentina is among the six countries that experienced the highest rates last year, but trails behind Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Venezuela, Syria and Sudan, which experienced triple-digit inflation last year.

Argentina’s Finance Minister Sergio Massa attributed the modest drop in December to a price control scheme known as “Precios Justos,” or Fair Prices, which has temporarily frozen the cost of more than 1,700 products until December 2023. Controls similar pricing measures introduced in 2021 failed to curb inflation. The minister added that monthly price increases could start to fall, to 3 percent in April.

Economists widely expect inflation in Argentina to remain stubbornly high through 2023 as the country enters a presidential election year and are skeptical about the effectiveness of the latest government measures.

Earlier this week, the World Bank warned that getting inflation below 90 percent will be a complex challenge in 2023.

Consumer confidence in Argentina has continued to deteriorate. The value of the local peso on the widely used parallel exchange rate has fallen to record lows against the US dollar, as savers, fearful of further devaluation, turn their pesos into more reliable holdings. On Thursday the peso fell to 360 against the dollar.

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