January 15, 2021
1. Price control program relaunched
Interior Commerce Secretary Paula Español announced the relaunch of the national price control program during a press conference. This latest iteration of the program will include 260 new products, to reach a total of 660 products under control. The program also has the support of 54 supermarket chains, 2,800 convenience stores across the country. Additionally, an average price increase of 5.6% for products that are a part of the program was instituted, prices which will remain in effect through April and be adjusted on a quarterly basis. On the other hand, as a result of negotiations, a series of products were removed from the price ceiling program, which puts a limit on an increase in prices.
2. Government removes clamp on corn exports
After a meeting with the Argentina’s corn-producing industry, Luis Basterra, the Minister of Agriculture, Cattle and Fishing, decided to allow the export of corn once again, which had been prohibited since the end of December 2020. The announcement ended the strike started by corn producers in protest of the measure. Minister Basterra also reached an agreement to substitute the limit of 30,000 tons of corn exported per day with close monitoring of the “exportable balance.” Additionally, they reached a long-term agreement with both corn consumers and producers to develop a trust as a structural solution and a method of decoupling demand from the international market and the supply of corn processors. With this in mind, the government assured the provision of the FOGAR tool with the goal of guaranteeing the payment of corn vendors in time, as well as the warrant tool – which gives corn buyers the right, but not the obligation, to buy corn at a predetermined price and date. Attending the meeting were Minister Basterra, the President of the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange José Martins, CIARA-CEC President Gustavo Idígoras, Center of Poultry Processing Enterprises President Roberto Domenech, Meat Industry Coordinator Dardo Chiesa, and Vice President of CONINAGRO, Elbio Laucirica. Meanwhile, the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, referred to the matter and asked to articulate rules so that the rise in the price of commodities that have been taking place in recent weeks, benefits the entire society.
3. COVID-19 vaccination plan makes progress
Health Access Secretary Carla Vizzotti stated on Tuesday that on Saturday 300,000 doses of the second component of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will be delivered, and the timeline for the delivery of both doses is on track. It is worth noting that on Monday, the secretary had assured the government that it was evaluating the possibility of applying only one dose with the goal of accelerating the vaccination process across the country, to later apply the second dose with the outbreak of cases under control. These controversial statements were later corrected both by Secretary Vizzotti as well as President Alberto Fernández.
4. Government advances implementation of Knowledge Economy framework
Through Resolution 4/2021, the Ministry of Productive Development advanced the implementation of the Knowledge Economy framework. A series of complementary norms to be implemented by the Subsecretariat of the Knowledge Economy. The measure details the activities that will be promoted, like software, information and digital services, audiovisual production, research and development, biotech, among others. Additionally, it was established that beneficiaries could calculate investments over the last year, or an average over the previous 24 months before the date of registry. On the other hand, beneficiaries of the Promotion of the Software Industry framework must reconfirm their desire to continue under the new Knowledge Economy Framework.
5. Consumer price index in December reaches 4%; 2020 ends with 36.1% inflation
The national statistical agency (INDEC) released consumer price index figures – the country’s official measure of inflation – for December. A 4% increase in prices was reported in December, meaning 2020 ended with 36.1% inflation. The sectors experiencing the highest price increases were Health, and Recreation and Culture (5.2%), while Education and Communication remained stable at 0%. It is worth noting that annual inflation was marked by the freezing of utilities tariffs and the price control and price ceiling programs.