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Argentina pushes to freeze 900 prices before elections

The Argentine government aims to extend a price control program to approximately 900 household items in its latest attempt to regain ground with the voter base before next month’s legislative elections.

The new Secretary of Domestic Commerce, Roberto Feletti, told business leaders of major food companies in Buenos Aires on Wednesday that the government wanted companies to expand a program that limits the prices of certain products, according to people with knowledge of the meeting. who asked not to be identified because the request is not public. Argentina has a price control program known as Precious Care, which currently has more than 700 products in supermarkets whose prices may increase marginally each quarter.

The government aims to retroactively freeze the prices of 900 items from October 1, according to an official.

Price controls are a temporary policy used by Peronist governments as one of several unorthodox instruments to try to cool inflation, which hovers around 50% annually and hurts consumer income. President Alberto Fernández’s coalition seeks to regain support after a primary vote in September indicated that it will likely lose seats in Congress in the November 14 legislative elections.

Feletti spoke with around 100 business sector leaders and advocates on Wednesday, including representatives from Danone SA, Nestlé SA, Arcor SAIC and Molinos Río de la Plata SA, according to a food industry official who attended. It was not immediately clear what prices would be frozen or how many companies would accept the move, according to two people in attendance.

The request comes a day before Argentina’s statistics agency publishes inflation data for September.


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