Argentina inflation surges past 200%, hitting highest level in decades

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BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s annual inflation rate sped past 211% in December, official data showed on Thursday, hitting the highest level since the early 1990s as new libertarian President Javier Milei seeks to head off hyperinflation with tough austerity measures.

Argentina’s monthly inflation rate also hit 25.5% in the month, slightly below forecasts, after a sharp devaluation of the peso currency last month after Milei’s government took office on Dec. 10, pledging to get inflation under control.

The inflation reading took Argentina past regional peer Venezuela, long Latin American’s inflation outlier, where inflation cooled to an estimated 193% in 2023, following years of painful, out-of-control price rises.

“We’ve had to eliminate things that made life a little brighter,” said retiree Susana Barrio, 79, adding she no could longer afford to invite her friends for asado barbecues, long a key part of Argentine social life.