BUENOS AIRES, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Argentina’s national statistics agency said on Monday it would resume publishing inflation data in June after a half-year hiatus in order to revamp and restore credibility in the way it calculates consumer price increases.
Under former President Cristina Fernandez, data produced by Argentina’s INDEC statistics office was broadly seen as inaccurate and politically motivated. In particular, it routinely estimated inflation at about half the rate of private forecasts.
Critics said Fernandez’s populist government massaged the data to reduce payments on its inflation-indexed debt load and rein in inflation expectations.
But when new, business-friendly President Mauricio Macri took office last December, he installed a new INDEC director who announced a total overhaul of the agency in a bid to restore the credibility of its data. The publication of new statistics was suspended until the revamp was completed.
“In June, we will return to publishing the Index of Consumer Prices,” said INDEC chief Jorge Todesca, adding that it would be based on data from Buenos Aires city and suburbs showing the evolution of prices between April and May.
Private economists estimate consumer prices are rising around 30 percent on the year. Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay has said he aims to bring it down to around 5.0 percent by the end of the government’s term in 2019.
Todesca said the agency would resume publishing other data such as trade and economic activity earlier, from March onwards. (Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)