Argentine Courts Dismiss Government Fines Against CPI Reporting

Argentine appeals courts dismissed fines imposed on private research firms for a total of 3.5 million pesos ($670,000) for allegedly reporting inflation figures that contrasted with official data without revealing their methodology.

The four Buenos Aires-based courts coincided in releasing their rulings today saying the practice by the firms didn’t violate any laws, according to the judiciary website. The fines, for 500,000 pesos each, were imposed by Interior Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno.

The fines had been imposed in July 2011 by Moreno who filed charges against the private researchers saying the companies stood to profit by reporting prices in South America’s second-biggest economy which were rising at more than double the official rate reported by the National Statistic Institute, known as Indec. Since the fines were levied, researchers began to anonymously provide data to opposition lawmakers who release a consumer price index every month.

In March, prices rose 1.5 percent from February and 24.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the so-called Congress CPI index. Official data showed annual inflation of 10.6 percent in March. The perceived underreporting of inflation data prompted the International Monetary Fund to censure Argentina in February.

The rulings favor Ecolatina, Fiel, EcoGo SA, Efimak SRL, Graciela Bevaqua and Gabriel Rubinstein & Asoc., Finsoport SA, the website says.

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