April 16, 2021
1. Second peak: new restrictions for Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area
By means of Decree 241/2021, the new COVID-19 measures announced by President Alberto Fernández on Wednesday were made official. They took effect today, April 16th and will last two weeks through April 30th. Governors have the option to adhere to the guidelines or not. Mobiilty will be restricted from 8PM to 6AM, and recreational, social, cultural, sports and religious activities in closed spaces are suspended. Commercial activities must be carried out between 9AM and 7PM, but shopping malls are to remain closed through the duration of the emergency decree. Restaurants are permitted to operate only in open spaces during the established time frame and will be delivery-only after 7PM. For the educational sector, in-person classes are suspended, and exclusively virtual classes are permitted. Leader of the PRO party, Patricia Bullrich, and other figures from the opposition participated in marches on the presidential palace to voice disapproval of the new measures. Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta – a member of the opposition – offered a press conference after the measures were announced. Although the focus of the press conference regarded the educational restrictions, it is expected the city will adhere to the decree with the exception of two points: it will not support the presence of federal forces in the city and disagrees with the suspension of in-person classes for two weeks. For this reason, the city filed a constitutional protection appeal before the Supreme Court to avoid the application of the decree and requested an urgent meeting with President Fernández before Monday, when classes return. The meeting was hold on Friday morning, but according to President Fernandez, there will be no changes in the measures.
Télam: Cuáles son las nuevas medidas para el AMBA
TN: Eduardo “Wado” de Pedro presionó a Horacio Rodríguez Larreta ante la segunda ola: “Podemos llegar a generar una cepa Buenos Aires”
Infobae: Horacio Rodríguez Larreta le pidió una reunión urgente al presidente Alberto Fernández tras el anuncio de las nuevas medidas
2. Argentine statistical agency reports 4.8% inflation for march: highest rate under Fernández administration
March inflation reached 4.8% and has now accumulated a 42.6% increase year-over-year. This is the highest such figure since Alberto Fernández took office. The figure, published by the Argentine statistical agency (INDEC), inflation has hit 13% so far in 2021. Monthly inflation rates were 4% and 3.6% in January and February, respectively. The government assumed an inflation rate of 29% when planning for the budget, although private sector analysts expect the figure to be closer to 46%. The prices of food and beverages (4.6%) once again increased by a great deal, albeit at a lower rate than the general average. The most affected sectors were education (28.5%), and clothing and footwear (10.8%). INDEC reported that among foods and beverages, price increases were most pronounced for dairy products and eggs; oils and fats; meat and meat by-products; vegetables, legumes and tubers; and grains and cereals. These increases were offset by decreases in the price of fruits.
3. Economy minister holds meetings with officials from Germany, Italy, Spain and the Pope
As a part of his European tour in a bid to gain approval from IMF members to restructure Argentina’s debt, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán met with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schmidt. The conversation focused on the stabilization of Argentina’s economy and advances in negotiations with the Paris Club and the IMF. Additionally, the minister was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican, where they spoke about Argentina’s debt situation. He also met with Italian entrepreneurs doing business in Argentina, where Guzmán promised judicial security, long-term investor confidence, and guaranteed growth this year and the following years. Afterwards, Guzmán hosted a bilateral meeting with his Italian counterpart Daniele Franco at the seat of the country’s Economy Ministry. On Thursday, the minister made it to Spain, where he met with Spanish Chief of Staff Iván Redondo and his Spanish counterpart Nadia Calviño. Today, the minister will meet with his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, and French business leaders with stakes in Argentina.
4. Price controls renewed throught July; more products added
Interior Commerce Secretary Paula Español renewed the 2021 price control program – a series of heavily consumed local products, which contain 670 products. Those already included in the program will experience price increases of an average of 4.8%. Among the new products include pastas, crackers, puddings, and primary and secondary branded items. According to revelations made by Español and official provincial entities, the program has a compliance rate above 80% and 99.9% compliance with products agreed to in businesses. Nonetheless, Chief of Staff Santiago Cafiero instructed Argentina’s revenue service (AFIP) to inspect the prices of supermarket chains. Additionally, compliance with supply laws and an increase in penalties for offenders will be considered. Over the last couple days, mass consumer businesses publicly stated that their margins are disappearing, since prices have been frozen for over one year. Español also established a new code of Good Commercial Practices for supermarkets and providers, with the objective of finalizing details for a revision of the “Gondola Law,” which seeks equal treatment for large and small brands at supermarket chains.
TN: El Gobierno redobla el control sobre los supermercados: ordenan que inspectores de la AFIP vigilen los precios
Cronista: Ley de Góndolas: el Gobierno definió qué deberán cambiar los comercios
Argentina: Se renueva Precios Cuidados hasta julio con más productos
5. Government launches new measures to control inflation and prices
In light of March’s high level of inflation, the government announced a series of measures aimed at containing price increases and guaranteeing the supply of food, inputs, and industrial goods. Chief of Staff Santiago Cafiero led a meeting of his economic team on Thursday at the Casa Rosada, where they discussed a framework of actions related to prices and the supply of beef, sectoral agreements to establish predictability in prices of other foods, as well as the diversification of supply and production. In line with this goal, the Federal Mobile Market program has already been announced, which will allow access to fresh produce at wholesale prices and include a new group of products that will be negotiated with food companies at accessible, predictable and mandatory prices throughout the country. In order to maintain firm price controls, the Secretariat of Domestic Trade will incorporate 500 new inspectors to strengthen compliance tasks and guarantee supply while the health emergency decree is in effect. Likewise, the SIPRE (Information System for the Implementation of Economic Reactivation Policies) was put into operation and the Price Observatory created by Law 26,992 was launched. With respect to the industrial sector, an agreement will be signed with the main suppliers of industrial inputs for widespread use and construction to maintain prices from March through the end of the year, with a quarterly review clause. This agreement includes the textile, leather, wood, cellulose and paper, plastics, chemicals, iron and steel, rubber and aluminum, cardboard, glass and cement sectors. A price agreement will also be signed with the primary manufacturers and retail chains of electronics and household appliances. The agreement keeps current prices fixed until the end of October and includes the structuring of special offers for cellular phones, TVs and computers.