Cuba´s black market inflation estimated at 6,900%

HAVANA, Oct. 29 (AFP) The Cubans reacted Thursday, October 28 with “incredulity” and “pain” to the announcement by the authorities,that black market inflation is now estimated at 6,900%, in a context of severe shortages which encourages resale trading. “I grew up, I was educated in this system and (…) what I feel is pain, like never before,” Elda Marina Quiñonez, the 69-year-old teacher told AFP. , at the exit of a market where she had bought onions and aromatic herbs.

During the parliamentary session organized on Wednesday and Thursday, a senior official gave the figures for the inflation recorded since the entry into force, on January 1, of the unification of the two local currencies, which revalued salaries on average by 450% but also boosted consumer prices.

The reform counted on retail price inflation of 60%, but in the end, “people pay prices seven to 10 times higher” than before, admitted Wednesday Marino Murillo, head of the commission responsible for implementing this. reform.

In question, the black market, stimulated by the serious shortages of food and medicines but also by the opening since 2019 of stores selling only in foreign currency, is inaccessible for a large part of Cubans. Inflation has already reached 6,900% since January, he said.

Many resellers take advantage of the situation to buy the products in foreign currency and then offer them at prices at least three to four times higher. Currencies, on the other hand, trade at higher rates on the black market every day (the dollar being around 70 Cuban pesos, against an official rate of 24), also inflating prices.

This inflation is the product of “speculation”, commented Thursday Delfin Lima, an employee of the 65-year-old edition, who walked in Obispo Street, the commercial artery of old Havana. “I did not think that we would have such inflation because in addition, for me it is not caused by objective circumstances but by certain people, mainly traders,” he added.

Cuba is experiencing its worst economic crisis since 1993, with a drop in GDP of 13% between January 2020 and September 2021, under the effect of the coronavirus pandemic and the strengthening of the American embargo.