BUENOS AIRES: The annual inflation rate in Argentina rose to 289.4%, the country’s statistical office Indec said on Tuesday, reported dpa news.

Prices in the South American country, which has been hit by a severe economic crisis, rose by 8.8% in April, Indec announced in Buenos Aires.

The costs of housing, gas, water, and electricity rose sharply. However, it was the first time since October that the monthly inflation rate remained in the single digits.

Argentina is in the midst of a severe economic crisis. Ultra-liberal president Javier Milei’s government recently cut thousands of jobs in the public sector, reduced subsidies, and wound up social programmes triggering demonstrations.

Critics say Milei’s harsh austerity programme is plunging many people into poverty and is putting the country’s future at risk.

Around 40% of people in the once prosperous country live below the poverty line.

The second largest economy in South America suffers from a bloated state apparatus, low industrial productivity, and a large shadow economy that deprives the state of much tax revenue.