ARGENTINA: Monthly Consumer Price Index Accelerates To 3.1% In December

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Retail inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit a 15-month high at 4.88 percent in November.

Crude prices have rallied, sending Brent crude above United States dollars 70 a barrel on Thursday for the first time since December 2014, a worry that India imports most of its energy needs. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 5.27% and urban area 5.09% in December 2017 as against 4.79% and 4.90% in November 2017.

Consumer food price inflation, a metric to gauge changes in monthly kitchen costs, continued to witness a jump, with prices of food rising 4.96 percent in December from 4.42 percent in November.

Analysts said any sharp rise in state spending in the budget that fuels inflation could force the central bank to raise rates earlier than expected.

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The pickup in the core CPI data may help reinforce expectations that the Fed is making progress on stable inflation, one of its twin goals along with maximum employment. Economists were expecting to see a 0.2% rise in price pressures.

"The 0.3% m/m gain in core consumer prices in December will reinforce expectations of a Fed rate hike in March and supports our view that the Fed will ultimately increase interest rates by a more aggressive 100bp cumulatively this year", said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics. Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence climbed 0.3% after gaining 0.2% in November.

Last month, gasoline prices fell 2.7% after rebounding 7.3% in November.

Prices of medical care rose 0.3%, as the index for prescription drugs advanced 1%. Food prices rose 0.2% after being unchanged for two straight months. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.

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