Bolivia: 4th highest inflation rate in the region

La Prensa, La Paz, 08-Jan-2011: Inflation in Bolivia is at 7.18%, placing it in fourth place among the countries of this region. Venezuela has the highest inflation with 27.2% and Peru the lowest with just 2.08%, according to official reports.

The cost of food products increased the most and, according to analyses, the growing demand from China and low production due to climactic conditions also influenced these annual numbers.

Economists of the region are cautious with regard to 2011 and don't foresee great changes in price trends.

In Venezuela the cost of food products increased by 34% over the past year and observers affirm that the U.S. Dollar is 65% more expensive now. Even so, it will be necessary to import food products which are more expensive in the international market.

In Ecuador clothing and shoes increased the inflation rate which is currently at 3.33%, according to the INEC (Statistics and Census Institute).

International analysts point at the Bolivian 'gasolinazo' (a decree annulling fuel subsidies) as the factor that increased inflation to 7.18%, far above the country's initial inflation rate of 4.5% at the beginning of the year.

"The upward trend was accentuated during the last days of December after the gasolinazo decreed by the Government increased fuel prices by 73-83%", stated observers.

In Argentina the inflation is officially at 9.9%, but independent organizations question the data and are currently taking actions to calculate the 'real inflation' rate.

In Colombia health care is considered to be the service that increase overall family expenses by 4.31%, followed by food which increased by 4.09%, education by 4.01%, and housing by 3.69%.

In Paraguay the consumption of beef was the largest family expense, followed by poultry and pork, giblets and cold cuts.
In this country the price of sugar increased by 50%.

Brazil ended 2010 with an inflation rate of 5.9

Brazil ended 2010 with an inflation rate of 5.9% and economic observers estimate that the Central Bank will increase referential interest rates to motivate cash deposits and limit pressure on prices.

The Brazilian IPCA (referential national consumer index) increased by 5.91% throughout 2010, as compared to 4.31% in 2009, according to the IBGE (Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute). Thus the year ended at its highest level since 2004 when the rate was at 7.60%. In December alone the IPCA increased by 0.63%, slowing from 0.83% in November.

Peru recorded an inflation rate of 2.08 %

In Peru the inflation rate in December was 0.18% and annual inflation was 2.08%, as reported by the INEI (National Statistics and Information Institute).

The variation of the IPC (Consumer Price Index) in metropolitan Lima in 2010 was lower than expected by the BCR (Central Reserve Bank), despite the fact that in its last report it has lowered its projections to 2.3%.

The December inflation rate was only higher than those recorded in September (0.03%), October (0.14%) and November (0.01%). Aníbal Sánchez, head of the INEI, reported that inflation in December was significantly lower than recorded during the same month over the past three preceding years.

He explained that seven large consumer groups experienced increases in prices during this month: transportation and communications (1.20%), clothing and shoes (0.48%), health care and conservation (0.19%).

Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in the region

Venezuela continues to head the list with the highest inflation rate in the region, above Colombia, ending the year with a 3.1% increase in prices. The second highest increase was experienced in Argentina where the Central Bank announced that the annual rate was 9.9%.

The Brazilian economy did not achieve its goal of decreasing inflation and there is preoccupation due to the 4.5% inflation rate recorded, while Uruguay announced that prices increased by 6.9% over the past 12 months.

Another negative number announced by the Central Bank of Venezuela is the increase in the scarcity rate, which increased from 11.4% to 13.3% in one month, affecting not only markets and supermarkets but the Mercal and Pdval networks as well.

The diversity index, which measures the variety of brands of each product, showed negative results, descending to 149.5 points.

Source: La Prensa
Date: 08-Jan-2011

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