MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s annualized inflation rate hit 8.15% in July, the highest in almost two two decades, the national statistics institute announced Tuesday.
But inflation in prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages is even higher, with prices rising 14.5% over the last 12 months.
Many Mexican families are feeling the pinch, and going without some of the costlier items like meat.
The Mexican government raised the country’s minimum wage by 22% in 2022 to about $8.50 per day, but much of that increase has now been consumed by inflation.
Housewife Carla Valadez was shopping at a Mexico City market Tuesday, and had to buy vegetables instead of pork because of the prices.
“We are going to become vegetarians out of necessity,” said Valadez.
Tinga, a traditional dish made of tomatoes, onions and chile with shredded chicken or beef, is now prohibitively expensive.
“Now my son asks me to make carrot tinga,” said Valadez.
Juana Pardo, a retiree who tries to make ends meet on an $82 per month supplementary pension program for the elderly, says “what I get from the government isn’t enough any more.”
Pardo is buying some nopal cactus leaves, and has taken to eating more vegetables and beans instead of chicken and eggs, because of the prices. “There is nothing else I can do, if I can’t make ends meet.”
The government has lifted import duties on 21 basic food items and has encouraged Mexicans to grow more food, but it is not clear how much that will help, in a world where high inflation has become generalized.