Major fuel suppliers in Argentina have agreed to extend their price-control agreement with the government for another five months, officials said Wednesday.
Under the deal, major oil and energy firms will cap price hikes until August in a bid to keep costs at the pump down and assist the government’s attempts to tackle runaway inflation.
The agreement, confirmed Wednesday by Energy Secretary Flavia Royón and Trade Secretary Matías Tombolini, establishes a four-percent monthly guideline for hikes in petrol and diesel prices. The accord will run from April 15 to August 15, said officials.
The main oil and energy companies active in Argentina – YPF, PAE, Raizen (Shell) and Trafigura – all signed up to the agreement.
In a statement, the Commerce Secretariat said the measure will "protect consumers and promote stability in the market.”
Tombolini remarked in the same release that the move would offer “predictability to consumers, users and companies” and formed part of the Economy Ministry’s bid to “sustain fiscal balance and take care of [Central Bank] reserves."
Royón, in turn, highlighted the efforts made by public and private companies to support the state's initiative "in order to contain prices and anchor inflationary expectations so that this does not have an effect on people's pockets.”
The move, part of Economy Minister Sergio Massa’s sweeping ‘Precios Justos’ price controls scheme, comes with officials braced for the release of disappointing inflation data this Friday.
Consumer prices are forecast to have jumped seven percent in March from the previous month – the fastest pace since Massa took office in August. Prices jumped 6.6 percent in February and have soared 102.5 percent over the last 12 months.