BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) — Argentina’s government on Thursday announced it had reached an agreement with the private sector to freeze prices on more than 1,200 goods in a bid to slow soaring inflation.
The country’s statistics institute announced that inflation since January was 37 percent while the figure over the last 12 months was 52.5 percent, one of the highest in the world.
“These 1,247 goods with their prices frozen will provide an anchor to stabilize inflation,” said Roberto Feletti, the secretary for internal commerce.
“The important thing is to slow down the ball and to guarantee a quarter with lots of consumption,” Feletti told El Destape radio.
The agreement relates mainly to food and cleaning products.
Companies have voluntarily agreed to return prices to their levels on October 1 and will remain fixed until January 7, 2022.
“The response from businesses was positive,” said Feletti.
Argentina has suffered two decades of sky-high inflation.
The agreement comes after recent street protests demanding greater food subsidies and help in a country where poverty surpassed 40 percent this year.
A few weeks ago, the government increased the minimum wage by 16 percent to 33,000 pesos ($333) a month and announced a hike in family allowances that should benefit two million people in the country of 45 million.
Already in recession since 2018, the coronavirus pandemic plunged Argentina into an even worse economic crisis.
Center-left President Alberto Fernandez, who has two years to run on his term, is under pressure with partial legislative elections due next month.
Fernandez runs the risk of losing his Frente de Todos coalition’s majority in the senate, which would be a major blow given that he does not have a majority in the lower house chamber of deputies.
© Agence France-Presse