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ECONOMY | 15-08-2023 17:04

Argentina’s government suspends meat exports for 15 days

Measure taken as talks with slaughterhouses and companies continue in wake of post-PASO devaluation of peso.

Argentina, one of the world’s biggest beef exporters, suspended exports for two weeks as the country reels from a currency devaluation after outsider presidential candidate Javier Milei won a primary election on August 13.

Shipments of all beef have been suspended while meatpackers and the government agree on new levels for prices, according to a spokesperson for Argentina’s customs office. “Until there’s an agreement, there’ll be no export permits granted,” the statement said.

Government sources admitted that they had detected a significant increase in consumer prices. 

"The measure was taken while awaiting a price agreement with the consortium of slaughterhouses," said Customs head Guillermo Michel.

"Without an agreement, there will be no export permits," he warned.

Argentina is bracing for rampant inflation to accelerate even further after the cash-starved government ran out of dollars to defend the peso and let it plunge 18 percent overnight, as Milei sprang a surprise in a key primary vote. The government is now scrambling to stop the devaluation from rapidly and fully passing through to local food and fuel prices.

Argentines vie with their neighbours in Uruguay as the world’s biggest consumers of red meat, so politicians closely watch prices. The government already has a longtime ban on exports of seven beef cuts most popular with locals. 

Even before the devaluation, increases to domestic beef prices were expected over the next few months.

Most of Argentina’s beef exports go to China.

 

– TIMES/NA/BLOOMBERG

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