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  • Writer's pictureJoel White

Q&A - corr(inflation,Fx)

Since inflation is always so high in many Latin American countries (~100% in Argentina), shouldn't we pass that through in our pricing?

"Yes" if you are pricing and performing that work in local currency, otherwise "not quite".

If pricing in local currency:

If you are pricing and performing multi-year (even multi-month) projects in Argentina in Argentine pesos (ARS), for example, yes you should account for its extreme inflation in your pricing. If it costs you 100 ARS to perform that work today, it will likely cost ~200 ARS to perform that work 12 months from now, so you need to account for that inflation in your ARS-denominated pricing.

If pricing in a large currency like USD, EUR, GBP, etc.

Learn the "exchange rate pass-through" principle, where high inflation in country A relative to country B weakens country A's currency exchange rate for country B's currency. The correlation is not a perfect 100% but the correlation increases the more extreme country A's inflation becomes.

Argentina is a perfect example, with inflation running >20% per year since 2016 and heading towards hyperinflation now. The ARS->USD exchange rate has plummeted ~94% as a result. So while something that cost 100 ARS in 2016 would now cost ~1300 ARS today (>1200% increase), that same something expressed in USD would have decreased from $7.72 to ~$6 (100 ARS * 0.077 in ~2016 would now be 1300 ARS * 0.00473 today).

What to do? I recommend using "country B"'s inflation rate for pricing. So if you are pricing Latin America work in USD, apply your US inflation assumptions. If you are pricing substantial work in Latin America over multiple years, consider only building in inflation for the first 1-2 years and subjecting the out years to an annual re-baselining.


Contact me or book a meeting to discuss how these principles can be applied to improve the performance of your organization.


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