The school basket exceeded three digits and increased 137% according to the consultants

Classes begin on Monday in the Federal Capital and in various interior provinces, in an inflationary context with increases in the school basket of 137%. Go back to class and suffer again with the increase in school supplies: dusters at $7,000, backpacks from $4,000, and pencil cases at $1,890. School combos will increase at a higher rate than the average for other items in the economy.

The school start is marked by the increase in the different supplies that the children will need for the school year. According to Damián Di Pace, from the Focus Market consultancy, “in the case of specific products for the school sector, such as overalls, the supplies had year-on-year increases of up to 142%. The school government can try to agree on a basket of supplies with the different suppliers of these items, but it will be a forward agreement since the carryover of price variations in the different categories cannot be rolled back”.

The Central already sold almost 1,000 million dollars

From the same consultant they add: “The average general inflation is dissociated from what has happened in the bookstores and school supplies category throughout the year. In many cases, there were even problems in accessing the dollars needed to import a finished product, as in the case of pencils, backpacks, and pencil cases. If we add the value of a top-brand unisex smock to the value of the supplies and the backpack (average price $7,250), we obtain a basic school basket with a value of $17,692, 137% more than in 2022 ($7,470 ) ), in the Backpacks and Pencil Cases category the situation is very complex.

Only 10% of the offer is manufactured in the local market. Many workshops have closed and manufacturers cannot replace what is imported.

School Supplies. Credit: Shutterstock Agency

According to the economist Eugenio Marí, from the Fundación Libertad y Progreso, “access to the school basket becomes a real problem in the context of an economy that does not generate quality employment and with wages that are falling in real terms. Products with regulated prices, sooner rather than later, begin to become scarce and the effectiveness of the price agreement is watering down. The real challenge is to recover productivity and purchasing power. In the case of informal workers, the most vulnerable, this is even more urgent. Wages in the unregistered private sector rose 65.4% year-on-year in December, against inflation that closed at 98.8% in the same month. This makes access to the school basket even more difficult.”
PROFILE collected testimonials that set the mood in families (apart from the overload of tasks that mothers receive, see page 28). Leila Armanna, a resident of the City of Buenos Aires, said: “The situation is difficult for a family like ours, because we cannot afford an overall for $7,000, less a backpack for $5,000, we made the decision not to spend and make do with what we already have. Another testimony that describes the delicate economic situation that Argentines are going through is the case of Jorge Fux: “I am retired, with my retirement I cannot help my grandchildren to buy an overall or slippers, my eldest son has three boys in age school and they are not going to buy new supplies, they are going to use the ones they already have”. In both cases, families choose to keep school supplies from last year, or not even renew the old ones.

Inflation continues to distort prices, as seen in the survey carried out by Consumidores Libres, established in retail businesses and supermarkets in the City of Buenos Aires: school basket products had an increase of 90.24% in school supplies and 164.09% in clothing compared to the year 2022. The survey includes 33 bookstore products, plus four items of school clothing. As for the backpacks, different designs, sizes and qualities are offered, whose prices range between $8,000 and $25,000.

In any of the items it is a difficult time to make purchases. Due to inflation and the year-on-year increase, the return to school goes hand in hand with increases, and in this 2023 it is no exception.

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