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Prices Care: the Government negotiates “one by one” with the companies and rushes a new list of 500 products

The relaunch of the program will be next October 7
The relaunch of the program will be next October 7

With one-on-one meetings and phone calls, the officials of the Ministry of Commerce hasten the closing of the new Care Prices list, which they hope to be able to launch this Friday, October 7. From the Government they anticipated that it will be a shorter list than the current one and with top brand products, more representative of each category, a version more similar to the price program that was launched in 2014, during the administration of Augusto Costa in the second government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

But the difference is that this new version will be launched in the midst of a high inflation context with an expected monthly index for September close to 7% and a floor that private consultants already place at 6.5% for the coming months.

According to sources from the mass consumption sector, the new version of the program will have at least about 500 products and the official proposal is that it has an update of up to 4% per month for new products that enter the list and up to 5% per month for those that were already. Although from the companies they assure that it would not be enough because the products that are within the price program come with a very large delay compared to the inflation of recent months.

Consultants forecast a floor of 6.5% inflation for the last months of the year (Maximiliano Luna)
Consultants forecast a floor of 6.5% inflation for the last months of the year (Maximiliano Luna)

At this time of the week, according to sources from the Secretariat, there are already many big brands confirmed: Coca-Cola, Ayudín, Natura, La Serenissima and Ilolay, among others. The axes are big brands, representative products of those brands, fewer products and more supply. It also follows the quarterly agreement scheme with monthly adjustment.

The product lists would already be agreed but now the negotiations go through the increase percentage, which should be closed between Wednesday and Thursday of this week. “We are still talking about the update issue because the case of the products that were already on the list and that are very late from the new products that are added is different.”, they said from the sector.

In the middle, inflation does not loosen: despite showing a slight tendency to slow down, the floor for the last months of the year is unlikely to fall below 6.5%, according to an analysis by the consulting firm EcoGo. “Our indicator shows a measurement of 6.7% for September and if we mount our projection to the data published by Indec until August, So far this year, inflation has accumulated a rise of 66.9%”, they highlighted.

Without forceful measures that induce a change in expectations, from the Ministry of Commerce they implemented an agreement with more than 60 clothing brands to roll back prices to September 1 and freeze them until the end of the year (the item was the first to register in July a rise above 100% year-on-year), and the publication of a list of prices surveyed by the Government itself that includes a list of those that registered the highest increases.

“We Argentines are living with an inflation rate of 2.5% per week. This week we received increases of 16% in a brand of sweeteners and about 10% in some dairy products, soft drinks, wines and cookies” (Fernando Savore)

“Beyond these attempts, the situation is really complex and with core inflation running at 7.4% and food at 7.2%, the problem is evident structural. Thus, our projections for the year rise again and stand at 101.9%”, highlighted the EcoGo report.

Argentines are living with an inflation of 2.5% weekly. This week we received increases of 16% in a brand of sweeteners and about 10% in some dairy products, soft drinks, wines and cookies,” he said. fernando savor, head of the Federation of grocers of the province of Buenos Aires (FABA). According to the meetings held with the Secretary of Commerce, a basket of Care Prices is not foreseen for the moment for smaller or nearby businesses, which are the ones that are supplied by wholesalers.

On September 26, they met with officials from the Secretariat and proposed some striking increases that merchants had to pay in wholesalers: sunflower oil went from $360 a liter and a half to $724 from one day to the next and that is currently being sells for $899. “They explain to us what part of the oil price is subsidized, but the issue is that we buy it from the wholesaler and that subsidy is not. If a brake is not put on, this starts to get out of hand. While they’re looking for who’s responsible, we’re still paying $899 for it and we have to sell it for $1,100,” Savore added.

The representative of the storekeepers recalled that in the management of William Hang At the Ministry of Commerce there was an attempt to put together a basket of 30 high-rotation products to be sold in nearby stores at a special price, but for now there are no plans to go ahead with that idea. “Prices Care can serve as a reference price but if there are too many delays in prices, companies stop supplying,” he concluded.

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