As Mexican inflation hits 8.15%, families cut spending

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s annualized inflation rate hit 8.15% in July, the highest in nearly two decades, the national statistics institute said Tuesday.

But food and non-alcoholic beverage price inflation is even higher, with prices rising 14.5% over the past 12 months.

Many Mexican families are feeling the pinch and going without some of the more expensive items like meat.

The Mexican government raised the country’s minimum wage by 22% in 2022 to around $8.50 a day, but much of that increase has now been eaten up by inflation.

Housewife Carla Valadez was shopping at a Mexico City market on Tuesday and had to buy vegetables instead of pork because of the prices.

“We are going to become vegetarians out of necessity,” Valadez said.

Tinga, a traditional dish of tomatoes, onions and chilli with shredded chicken or beef, is now prohibitively expensive.

“Now my son is asking me to make carrot tinga,” Valadez said.

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Juana Pardo, a retiree trying to make ends meet through an $82-a-month supplementary pension program for seniors, says “what I get from the government is not enough anymore.”

Pardo buys nopal cactus leaves and has started eating more vegetables and beans instead of chicken and eggs, because of the prices. “I can’t do anything else if I can’t make ends meet.”

The government has lifted import duties on 21 food staples and encouraged Mexicans to grow more food, but it’s unclear how much that will help, in a world where high inflation has become widespread.

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