Argentines struggle as inflation hits 124 percent

STORY: Argentina’s annual inflation rate shot up to 124 percent in August.

That’s a record high in more than three decades. And has left a lot of Argentines struggling to make ends meet.

Laura Celiz and her husband now have to juggle the math every time they want to buy something.

“It’s hard. Whatever one thing costs today, tomorrow costs a little more. We are always racing against the clock, searching and searching. You buy whatever is cheaper in one place and go to the next place and buy something else. That is how it is, regrettably.”

It is equally tough for business owners like butcher Marcelo Capobianco.

He fears he will need to close down his shop if the situation worsens. His family is even considering leaving Argentina.

“The situation we’re going through is dramatic because we don’t know how we are going to pay this month’s rent or electricity. People are angry and have every right to be, since they can’t afford to buy a kilo of meat, and then we’ll be affected.”

Argentina is caught in a cycle of economic crisis: the peso is depreciating, the central bank has negative reserves and the economy is flagging due to drought impacting farming.

Adding to that, a recent central bank analyst poll forecast inflation would end the year above 169 percent.

According to economic analyst Damian Di Pace, it could get even worse amid the uncertainty of next month’s presidential election.

“Some estimate that it could accelerate to 180%, so we are talking about record levels of inflation. While the other Latin American countries have single-digit inflation, Argentina is already in triple-digits.”

Economy minister Sergio Massa, who is in the presidential race, has cut taxes to allay the impact of inflation on workers.

On Wednesday, he said August had been the “hardest” month, blaming the International Monetary Fund for devaluating the currency by 20 percent.

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