What nine months of lying about inflation looks like

The horror.
The horror.
Image: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci
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Argentina’s national statistics bureau, Indec, announced on Tuesday (Oct. 15) that the country’s monthly inflation clocked in at 0.8% for the month of September. The largest contributor to the inflation rate was a 3.9% spike in the cost of healthcare and clothing.

If only that seemed accurate. One alternative estimate for September, as measured by the country’s Congressional Index, which uses data supplied by private consultants, is more like 2.11%. The discrepancy between government and private estimates isn’t new; it’s been growing every month since the beginning of 2013. The IMFPriceStats, owned by State Street Capital, and economists at MIT all agree that Argentina’s government has been cooking its books to mask higher inflation.

A look at the first nine months of 2013 is telling. The cumulative monthly numbers reported by Indec claim a nine month inflation rate of just over 7%, while private estimates hold that it’s over 17%.


At present, Argentina’s government holds that the country’s annualized rate is near 10%, while private estimates put it at closer to 25%. Most country’s annualized inflation rates are significantly smaller than the discrepancy between Argentina’s official and unofficial rates.