LatinNews Daily - 01 November 2021

In brief: Cuban official warns of higher-than-expected inflation

* Marino Murillo, the chairman of Cuba’s Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC)’s economic policy commission in charge of implementing economic reform guidelines, has presented a report outlining the results of the currency reform which took effect at the start of the year. The reform ended Cuba’s dual currency system, which comprised a convertible peso (CUC, pegged to the US dollar) and a domestic peso (CUP – with an exchange rate of 24 to the CUC). According to Murillo, the population is facing prices up to ten times higher than what was foreseen, with retail prices “rising the most in transportation, housing (building materials), and food”. He said that the average salary is CUP3,888 (US$160), and said that the reform had envisaged the cost of the basket of goods and services for individual monthly consumption at CUP1,528. However, he said that the cost of that basket has been rising, especially in the capital Havana and eastern provinces. For example, in March this basket was CUP2,347; in May, it was CUP2,628; in June, CUP2,700; and in August, CUP2,821. Murillo said. “This last price for August, is 1.85 times the cost of the basket that we used to calculate the minimum pension, which means that those living on a pension or minimum wage, at this time, are not consuming what was foreseen.”. He warned that “for a Cuban to eat something in the street today costs twice as much as designed.

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