Don't Lie To Me Argentina: False inflation data to end next year?

miércoles 22 de julio de 2015 13:56 GYT

By Hugh Bronstein

BUENOS AIRES, July 22 (Reuters) - The front-runner in Argentina's presidential election campaign is unnerving investors with his silence over the country's notoriously inaccurate inflation reporting, while the second place candidate says data transparency would be a top priority.

Official recognition that Argentina has one of the world's highest inflation rates would help improve a business climate tattered by heavy government controls and repeated sovereign debt defaults.

Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli leads the campaign ahead of the Oct. 25 election. He is seen as more friendly toward business than outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez, who has endorsed him.

But Scioli fueled jitters in the bond market and contributed to a drop in the local peso this week by lavishing praise on Fernandez's interventionist policies while dodging questions about Argentina's discredited INDEC statistics agency.

Scioli's closest rival for the presidency, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, has meanwhile pounced on the issue. He bills himself as a clear change from Fernandez, whose trade and currency controls have slowed South America's second biggest economy to a crawl.

"We will restore INDEC's autonomy, not only to increase transparency but as a key step toward reducing inflation," a Macri campaign spokesman told Reuters. The Scioli campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment.