The January slope is being, in 2018, steeper for Mexicans than in previous years. Prices rose by 5.51% in the first half of the year compared to the same period of the previous year when they did it by 4.78% and hit again the purchasing power of salaried employees.
The figure is notably lower than at the end of 2017 (6.8%, the highest figure in almost 17 years) for what economists call the base effect: the comparison with one year, the previous one, in which inflation already It was high and began with the gasolinazo, the sudden rise in fuel prices after its liberalization.
This factor and the increases in interest rates decreed by the Mexican central bank since the beginning of 2016, they should help redirect the increase in prices until it approaches the target range of between 2% and 4% as the year progresses. The figure of the first half of January is in line with the forecasts of the main analysis houses of the North American country.
The underlying price index for which the most volatile items in the shopping basket (agricultural and energy products) are discounted started the year with a very similar increase: slightly higher than 4.6%. The reason: agricultural products moderated their year-on-year increase to 10.6% and energy products increased by 6.4%, compared to 16.5% a year ago, with the gasolinazo and the depreciation of the peso – which affected the many commodities that Mexico imports from the United States and that has moderated in recent months – .
The moderation in the rate of growth of prices, for the aforementioned base effect, is felt, above all, in monthly rate: comparing the first half of January with the second half of December. In this scale, inflation remains at 0.24%, compared to 1.51% a year ago.
By products, the ones that increase the most with respect to the last fortnight of 2017 are bananas (+ 9.7%), potatoes (potatoes) and other tubers (+ 6.1%) and LP domestic gas (+3.86) %). The increase in the price of food is particularly worrisome, affecting both households and restaurants and, therefore, making the price of food consumed inside and outside the home more expensive.
On the other hand, air travel was reduced by almost 32%, compared to one of the most expensive periods of the year to travel: Christmas. The price of tomatoes fell, on the other hand, by 17.4%, and that of serrano pepper, by 12.6%. By cities, the highest year-on-year inflation was registered in Tulancingo (Hidalgo, central Mexico) and Huatabampo (Sonora, north), and the lowest, in Tehuantepec (Oaxaca, south) and Aguascalientes (Aguascalientes, north-central).
Everything that was not a new increase in interest rates in February would be news. In December, the new governor of the Bank of Mexico, Alejandro Díaz de León, already made it clear that his main battle at the head of the issuing institute would be to fight inflation with all the tools at his reach: he raised the price of money from 7% to 7%. , 25% and made clear that he would fight without quarter against the price increase.