The Statistical Institute of Workers (IET) warned that the cost of living for salaried workers in Argentina more expensive 3% on average during September. In this way, the inflation returned to show a resurgence after five months of slowdown.
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The rise was driven by the Food and Beverages segment, which climbed 4.4%, according to the institute that depends on the Metropolitan University for Education and Work (UMET) and has the support of 50 unions of the CGT and the CTA.
In September the increases in bread and cereals, vegetables and fruits stood out. In addition, the monthly report pointed out that the prices of the main cuts of meat rose 1.1%, thus a “moderation” was observed in the increase of this item.
If inflation for workers continued at 3% per month for the remainder of the year, 2021 would have ended with a price rise of 48.8%, the analysis indicates.
In the first nine months of the year, inflation on wages accumulated 36.2%. Meanwhile, year-on-year inflation reached 52.1%, the third consecutive month around that figure, the report said.
In second place, the item “other goods and services” rose 3.8% in September, due to increases in hairdressing for men, toilet soaps, cigarettes and toilet paper. Clothing and footwear and Health increased by 3.7%. In the latter case, the increases were driven by prepaid (+ 9%).
Transportation increased 3.5%, due to zero kilometer increases in vehicles (in a context of a growing exchange gap and supply problems) and in domestic airfare (due to the fact that the reopens are impacting on a rapid acceleration of demand) .
Teaching increased 3.0%, which is mainly explained by school supplies, support courses, languages and artistic teaching. Below the general level, we find Recreation and culture in first place (+ 2.7%, with increases of over 12% in toys).
Home equipment and maintenance advanced 2%. This is an item that had risen higher than the average in the last year; the moderation in September is partly explained by furniture, which rose 1.2%.
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Meanwhile, Housing (0.3%) and Communications (-0.1%) had practically no movements. In the case of Housing, this is due to the stability in the electricity, gas and water utility rates; meanwhile, in Communications there were no major variations neither in services nor in telephony equipment. It is worth noting that in August this division had been the one with the highest increases of the entire basket, so that the stability of this month partially offset these increases.
What about wages
In the second part of its report, the EIT details the evolution of real wages in the registered private sector. They take two metrics: the average salary and the median salary. While the former shows a slight tendency to recovery (standing 1.2% above December 2019), in the median salary the scenario is of stagnation in the last year (and even fall compared to the end of 2019).
This has to do with the salary evolution of lower-income workers (that affect the median more than the mean) was more unfavorable than that of the highest income. This trend actually predates the pandemic, but has consolidated in recent months, the IET said.
Two possible reasons behind this worse relative performance of the median salary with respect to the median salary have to do with the fact that the pandemic had a relatively greater impact on sectors with lower salaries (such as hotels and restaurants) and, in turn, on SMEs, in where salaries are generally lower than large firms.