Juan Carlos Barboza & Diego Ciongo
Consumer prices rose by 5.1% mom in December (from 4.9% in October), below expectations of 5.7% according to the central bank survey of the top ten forecasters. Annualized quarterly inflation declined to 88.4% in December, from 96.0% in November. The 12-month inflation reading came in at 94.8%.
Core inflation accelerated to 5.18% in December, from 4.8% in November. Annualized core inflation fell to 84.0% in 4Q22, from 113.7% in the previous quarter. Prices for regulated items rose by 5.1% mom and 85.7% yoy following the first price adjustments for transportation services. Prices for seasonal products rose by 4.6% mom and 134.1% yoy.
Given the slower growth, the government aims to reduce inflation in 2023 through price controls. Lower-than-expected inflation will allow the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged at 75%. While price controls and some deceleration in the depreciation pace of the official exchange rate may have a disinflationary impact in the short run, inflation is likely to remain high without changes in macro policies. We maintain our inflation forecast for 2023 at 100%.
Juan Carlos Barboza