Every product on the shelves of Argentina’s biggest supermarkets will now have to remain the same price for at least two months. Walmart, Carrefour, Jumbo and Disco are amongst the supermarket chains which will be affected, representing approximately 70% of national market share.
Monday’s announcement follows a deal between the nation’s main retail trade group and the government, in which the supermarkets agreed to the price freeze.
A hotline will be set up, allowing consumers to complain if they notice any price rises prior to April 1st.
Regional analyst had predicted that inflation could hit 30% in Argentina this year, making it the number one threat to the nation’s economy. The official government index puts inflation at just 10%, but this has lost credibility amongst both economists and the general public. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently censured Argentina for publishing inaccurate economic data, issuing a September deadline for the country to bring its reporting in line with international standards. If they fail to meet those standards, Argentina could face expulsion from the IMF. President Cristina Fernandex and Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino responding by accusing the IMF of contributing to the economic crisis in Europe, by pushing government to favour the needs of the banking industry over measures which would grow economies out of the crisis. They have, however, announced that they will switch to a new inflation index for the final quarter of 2013.
The government has also vowed to hold public salary increases to 20% this year.