Buenos Aires — Argentine’s consumer price index (CPI) ended January with an annual inflation rate of 98.8%, according to the country’s statistics bureau INDEC, putting it steps away from joining a ‘club’ of countries whose price hikes exceed 100% from one year to the next.
Among the countries for which there is reliable information, there are only three in which the CPI had reached three digits, and which will be joined by Argentina if the February inflation figure exceeds 5.4%.
Which countries have inflation higher than 100%?
One of the countries with inflation above 100% is also in Latin America: Venezuela.
According to the Venezuelan Finance Observatory (OVF), the country closed January with a year-on-year inflation rate of 440%, while monthly data showed a price increase of 39.4%.
In the country led by Nicolás Maduro, it is customary to resort to measurements by the private company OVF, since government data are not usually credible.
The latest monthly inflationary index also shows three digits: in October 2022 Venezuela would have had an inflation of 156%, the most recent month for which data are available.
Venezuela had emerged from hyperinflation in 2021 and had managed to end 2022 with 305.7% inflation, which was highest in the world and now appears to be increasing further.
However, inflation in the local currency, the bolívar, is difficult to determine, given the de facto dollarization of the economy in recent years.
Zimbabwe, in second place
If inflation is measured by official data, however, the country with the highest inflation in the world is not Venezuela but Zimbabwe, which closed January with a CPI of 230%, but which was down from the 244% in December.
Zimbabwe is enduring a long-term economic crisis.
The other country with inflation above 100% is Lebanon, which closed December with inflation of 122%, the most recent month for which data are available.
Lebanon defaulted on its debts in 2019 and is immersed in a political crisis, to the extent that the position of president of the Middle Eastern has been vacant since October 30, 2022.
Other Latin American countries with soaring inflation
In Latin America, the country that follows Venezuela and Argentina in terms of high inflation is Suriname, which closed December 2022 with 54.56% inflation year-on-year.
And while it is difficult to obtain reliable data regarding the situation in Cuba, private estimates indicate that the country is going through a price increase that exceeds 100%.