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Inflation hovers at 40%.

The Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) has published figures showing annual inflation as of last month was just a hair under 40 percent.

SCI said the report was the first one it has produced in cooperation with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which stopped producing inflation figures two months ago under pressure.

In recent months, the SCI inflation figures have been much lower than those published by CBI. But SCI's latest figure is almost the same as the CBI's last published number two months ago, suggesting that if a CBI figure were still being produced it would be well over 40 percent now.

The chart above has always used CBI figures. For the latest two months, it now uses the SCI numbers.

For the Persian calendar month of Dey (ending January 29), the SCI shows annual inflation running at 39.6 percent compared with the same month last year. In its last published report, the CBI showed inflation two months ago at 39.9 percent after soaring for months.

Using a second measure--the 12-month average--SCI reported the annual inflation rate as of Dey at 20.6 percent. The 12-month average, by definition, generally trails the year-onyear measure, showing a lower inflation rate when inflation is rising sharply and a higher inflation figure when inflation is dropping.

The highest sub-group inflation rate published by SCI showed an astounding annual rate of 107 percent for "unclassified foods." It showed inflation of 83 percent for fish and shellfish. Inflation in food categories is the most politically sensitive as it is noticed immediately by housewives and can produce angry reactions. The overall "food and beverages" group registered year-on-year inflation of 56.1 percent.

On January 8, the Specialized Commission of the Statistical High Council, affiliated with the Plan and Budget Organization (of which SCI is a subsidiary), announced the CBI does not have a legal mandate to published price indexes and must cease doing so.

It argued that the CBI publication was duplicative. Others said the CBI should not produce inflation figures because the governor of the CBI is judged on the rate of inflation and thus has an interest in the numbers. But since inflation began rising a year ago, the CBI figures have been significantly higher than the SCI figures.

Caption: Two ways to look at inflation

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Title Annotation:Economy: Money and its impact
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Feb 15, 2019
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