0.8% and no explanations

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September official inflation was confirmed yesterday at 0.8 per cent. In fact, it had already been decided even before the end of the month. The thing is that only government-agreed prices are counted, without caring if they are observed or not. In this way, inflation accumulated during the year barely hits 5.8 per cent. This measure is almost an attack for consumers, who day after day see how their purchasing power dissolves. Even investors in bonds look as though they are used to official makeup, since indexed instruments dip, though not as in previous occasions.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) posted during September a 0.8-per cent increase, accumulating 5.8 per cent so far 2007¸ as Argentine Statistics and Census Institute (INDEC, in its Spanish acronym) disclosed yesterday.

The entity also disclosed wholesale inflation which hit 0.9 per cent with respect to August and 11.5 per cent during the first nine months of 2007.

So, CPI was revealed amid demonstrations staged by INDEC technicians, who met at the organization's doors yesterday midday to repudiate inflation manipulation.

A technician from the institute confirmed to this newspaper that "inflation was hitting 2 per cent, taking into account surveys carried out during the last weeks of September. Yet, real figure would be even higher, because modifications as of June-July in INDEC bases are being swept along."

Figures disclosed yesterday by INDEC confirmed makeup once again. Argentine President Néstor Kirchner has chosen an interesting way of saying goodbye after four years running the country. Yet, the ruling party believes INDEC reflects real inflation, as Cabinet Chief, Alberto Fernández, stresses in his remarks.

Lies stand out a mile, for example, in one of the most questioned areas of CPI, Food and Beverage. According to INDEC, only 0.7-per cent rises were posted, below general 0.8-per cent average. Meanwhile, alternative surveys like those carried out by the Consumer Education Centre (CEC, in its Spanish acronym) in different supermarkets show 3.1-per cent increases.

Delicate issue


It's difficult to believe that, for INDEC, vegetables' prices have fallen 1.7 per cent during last month, when the institute's pollsters themselves have confirmed to this newspaper that they have observed 200-per cent rises in the case of tomato. It's obvious that some retouching has been made here, since official press release shows tomato at ARG$3.99 a kilogram.

Potato keeps on being a delicate issue.
According to INDEC pollsters, it has increased 50 per cent. Yet, government does not include it among goods rising the most last month.

INDEC also disclosed yesterday values of Total Basic Basket and Food Basic Basket (both reflecting poverty line). Food value has a strong impact on these two indicators, which have climbed 0.7 per cent between August and September.

Boost

An area showing significant rises was Rents, which prices grew 1.7 per cent against August and 18.4 per cent during the last twelve months.
However, Special Operation Office of INDEC, in charge of this kind of surveys, has been dismantled some months ago, according to some sources.

As regards wholesale inflation, September 0.9-per cent rise was mainly boosted by national products (0.9 per cent) and, to a lesser extent, by imported goods (0.4 per cent).

Manufacturing prices leaped 1 per cent, electric power showed no variations with respect to August and primary products hit 0.6 per cent.

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