After the rise of 5.9% registered in April, which led to the accumulation of 28% in the first four months, inflation in the food sector is holding steady. Although the Government expects that this month a slowdown will be perceived and that the general CPI will be closer to 4%, the private sector believes that there will be a higher floor, and the same for food and beverages.
The consultants that survey food prices detected an increase of 1.2% in the first week of May and more than 2% in the second, so so far the average inflation rate for the last four weeks is 5.1%. , which rises to 5.4% if the second is compared with the same week in April, according to the recent report from LCG.
What will happen in the remainder of the month is unknown, but inflationary inertia remains very high and the April data released this week may overheat prices even more in the coming days. The expectation of economists is that food in May will grow less than last month, but would show above average.
“Processed foods will be the average for inflation, but fresh foods remain high. Meat is going to play tricks on us again,” they admit at the Ministry of Productive Development. According to the Indec, in April the kilo of roast rose 5.2% (from $971.19 to $1,022.16); and the rump, buttock, shoulder and common minced meat rose 7.7%, 7.8%, 8.5% and 9.8%, respectively.
According to the Government’s analysis, food prices rise for several reasons: because there is demand, because of a rise in costs and because “there are cross-subsidies,” a source told Infobae. “As they have very few margins on the products of the Care Prices program, they recompose by increasing more what is outside the official plan,” he added. This message is transmitted by the Secretary of Domestic Trade, Roberto Feletti, to the food companies. The Government knows that this works like this and allows it, but in return it demands that the regulated strip be supplied.
The Ministry of Commerce detected shortages in several supermarkets, despite the fact that the companies assure -and they have shown it with figures- that they are delivering more and more volume. It happens that today the price gap between the products of the program and those that are outside has widened so much that the demand for these items is increasing. In this context, Feletti is analyzing advancing the discussion of the new values, which should only be discussed at the end of June.
According to EcoGo estimates, although the average variation of the food basket has been slowing down compared to what were a loaded March and April -the rise in international prices of raw materials due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had a strong impact- , they project the monthly rise around 4.7 percent.
“The meat continues without respite. At the end of April, beef cuts rose just under 7%. And in the first week of May, it was the case of chicken and fish with increases that exceeded 7%. Beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, were also one of the outstanding items in the week with a variation above the average (2.9%). Packaged products would not yield either and we estimate they will run at a monthly rate of around 4%,” said economist Milagros Suardi in an interview with Infobae.
The variations in the second week of May were led by vegetables which, according to the LCG report, rose 6.1%, and by baked goods, cereals and pasta, which rose 3.5%. And when considering the average variation of the last four weeks, the meat category is the one that heads the podium, with an 8.1% increase. In second place are baked goods (6.9%), followed by condiments and other food products (6.8%) and oils (6.3 percent) in fourth place.