It’s been a while since the IMF has been suspicious about the economic statistics released by the Argentinean government.

The 180 days deadline that the agency has given Argentina to straighten its official survey system, whose numbers are drastically different from those disclosed by private consultancies, expires this month. No sanctions yet, though, but the IMF’s eyes are on Argentina.

How suspicious?

The opposition accuses the government in Argentina to manipulate data on the economy. While the State-owned institute Idec says consumer prices rose 8.6% in 2011, data released by private consultancy firms indicate that the actual inflation number is about 23% in this same period.

In January 2007, the Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno changed the methodology for calculating inflation and generated controversy all over the media. Last year, the government fined private consultants (like Orlando Ferreres e Associados) who reported higher price increases, based on a law that prevents the spread of information that might “confuse the consumer”.

Gossip: An Argentinean economist told us yesterday…
Insiders in Argentina have told us that an example of this discrepancy is this: government agents go to individual retailers, markets and drug stores telling them that official survey agents are going there the next week and the bureaucrats tell them “you should not report the actual price increase from last year otherwise the government will tax you in double or close your business… here are the numbers you should report in order to comply with our system…”

True story from an actual business owner in Argentina … believe it or not.

References: Clarin, Estadao
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