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By Miguel Lo Bianco and Claudia Martini

SAN FERNANDO, Argentina (Reuters) – Argentina is in the grip of inflation that is expected to break past 100% on an annual basis when authorities release February data later on Tuesday, the first time it has hit triple figures since a period of hyperinflation in 1991.

Retiree Irene Devita knows all too well the impact: a lighter shopping bag and less food on the table at home.

In a market fair in San Fernando on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Devita, 74, looked through her groceries on Tuesday, checking price tags that change each week with monthly inflation around 6%, one of the highest levels in the world.

“The other day I came and asked for three tangerines, two oranges, two bananas and half a kilo of tomatoes. When he told me it cost 650 pesos ($3.22), I told him take everything out and leave just the tomatoes because I don’t have enough money,” she said.

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“There’s just nothing, there’s no money, people don’t have anything, so how do they buy?”

Graphic: Argentina: 100% inflation – https://www.reuters.com/graphics/ARGENTINA-INFLATION/jnpwyaqqypw/chart.png

The government has tried in vain to tame the rising prices, which dent people’s earning power, savings, the country’s economic growth and the ruling party’s chances of clinging onto power in crunch elections later this year.

On the streets, inflation is all many people can talk about. It seeds frustration and anger as salaries often fall behind the cost of goods despite government schemes to cap prices and limit grains exports to boost domestic supply.

Patricia Quiroga, 50, said 100% inflation was impossible to bear as she waiting on line to do her shopping.

“I am tired, tired, just tired of all this, of the politicians who fight while the people die of hunger,” she told Reuters. “This can’t go on any more.”

Graphic: Argentina: Inflation outlier – https://www.reuters.com/graphics/ARGENTINA-INFLATION/lbpggjrnjpq/chart.png

(Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco, Claudia Martini and Horacio Soria; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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