Pretty much everyone knows by now that Argentina’s inflation statistics are controversial.
Virtually all private-sector economists, and even some within the Economy Ministry itself, say the statistics agency, Indec, is fudging the data to make inflation appear lower than it is in reality.
Indec and other government officials dispute such charges and say Indec’s data “have never been better.”
Whatever the case, fewer people are aware that economists also question other statistical data such as economic growth.
Though economists unanimously say the economy is expanding robustly, they don’t necessarily agree about the pace of growth. I looked at this issue in a bit more depth in an article Wednesday for my newswire. Here are a few paragraphs from it:
Gross domestic product grew a blistering 9.9% on the year in the first quarter, according to the statistics agency, Indec. That was much higher than the 8.6% gleaned from Indec’s monthly economic activity reports that capture most components of GDP.
“When you get a discrepancy that big it starts to raise questions,” said an economist at a prominent local research firm. The economist spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of government reprisals. Earlier this year, the government fined at least nine consulting firms about $125,000 each for publishing economic data that differed considerably from Indec’s numbers.
A broadly-respected estimate by Orlando J Ferreres & Asociados, or OJF, put first quarter growth at 7.2%.
Some economist say Indec exaggerates GDP by about one percentage point. Others say it’s closer to three points.”The overestimate is between two to three points on average,” said Gabriel Camano Gomez, an economist at Joaquin Ledesma y Asociados.