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Argentina's inflation hits 53.8% in 2019

Argentina's consumer price index surged 3.7% in December 2019, bringing accumulated annual inflation to 53.8%, the INDEC statistics agency reported Jan. 15.

Annual inflation in 2019 posted its highest level for any year since 1991, when Argentina entered into a convertibility peg of a one-to-one exchange rate between the peso and the dollar, which lasted until it was repealed in 2002.

The most pronounced hikes for the year were attributed to healthcare and communications, which rose by 72.1% and 63.9% respectively. Home maintenance and equipment also showed a steep hike of 63.7%, while food and non-alcoholic beverages surged 56.8%.

Among the categories that saw the lowest variations were transportation, recreation and culture, education and housing, water, and electricity.

The annual inflation figure confirms another year of economic turmoil for Argentina, whose economy the IMF expects to have shrunk by 3.1% in 2019. The peso lost more than 37% of its value against the dollar, with capital controls reintroduced after four years in a bid to prevent further peso depreciation.

Markets remain uncertain about the country's ability to meet debt obligations for an estimated $28.40 billion during the first half of 2020.