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ECONOMY | 30-04-2018 10:55

Water prices, underground transport fares to jump from May

It has been a rough four months for hip pockets in Argentina. Already this year, consumers have seen price hikes in gas, electricity, taxis, buses, private healthcare plans and petrol.

It has been a rough four months for hip pockets in Argentina. Already this year, consumers have seen price hikes in gas, electricity, taxis, buses, private healthcare plans and petrol.

And from May 1, water prices and underground transport fares will also jump.

Water prices will incease by 26 percent on average according to water distribution company AySa. The increases will bring the average monthly water bill in metropolitan areas to 208 pesos (US$ 10).

In a major step, the government has also authorised the finalisation of subsidies on over one million bills. Prices for these households, which account for 30 percent of all water consumers, will rise 68 percent on average. However, the increases will be incremental.

SUBTE

Meanwhile, fares on Buenos Aires’ underground transport network, known otherwise as the “subte”, will this week jump from 7.50 pesos to 11 pesos (US$ 0.53c).

The increase in subte fares was postponed briefly due to bureaucratic difficulties. Licensee SBASE, which is owned by City Hall, has requested a 66-percent overall increase to fares. By June, a standard subte fare will cost 12.50 pesos.

The national government has implemented a number of new pricing mechanisms to benefit frequent travellers and those who use multiple forms of transport.

HEADACHE

Price hikes have been a political headache for the national government in recent weeks.

Opposition lawmakers have tried a number of legistlative manoeuvres to stop the government's roll-back of subsidies on utility bills, while members of its own coaliton have also put pressure on the Macri administration.

In an economic sense, the government is walking a fine line. Inflation in the first three months of 2018 accounts for 45 percent of the government's annual inflation target of 15 percent.

-TIMES

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