Consumer prices rose by 6.6% mom in February (from 6.0% in January), beating market expectations of 6.2% according to the central bank survey of the top ten forecasters. Annualized quarterly inflation increased to 99.2% in February, from 86.8% in January. The 12-month inflation reading came in at 102.5%.
Core inflation hit a record high of 7.7% in February, up from 5.4% in January, led by food and beverages. Annualized core inflation jumped to 104.1% in the quarter ended in February, from 83% in January. Prices for regulated items rose by 5.1% mom and 97.2% yoy, following adjustments in communications. Prices for seasonal products rose by 3.3% mom and 120.8% yoy.
We believe that inflation is likely to accelerate in 1Q23, despite the expected contraction in activity due to persistently high inflation expectations as well as inconsistent fiscal and monetary policies. We maintain our inflation forecast of 100% for this year, with upward risk. We also see a Leliq rate of 80% for YE23, from a current level of 75%.
Juan Carlos Barboza