BUENOS AIRES – Beef prices in Argentina are at the center of a debate between the government, which complains they are too high, and an industry that warns of possible further increases.
“We have to see how the market is, but the hike in electricity (rates) is coming. Our biggest cost is electricity. We can’t turn the freezers off. The increase in the electric bill will not be paid by the butcher, it will pass to the consumer,” Alberto Williams, vice president of the Buenos Aires Butchers Association, told radio Vorterix.
Williams added that upcoming wage bargaining could also push up prices, as the unions are demanding raises of between 35 percent and 40 percent.
Over the weekend, Agroindustry Minister Ricardo Buryaile said that a kilo (2.2 lbs.) of beef “should sell for 90 pesos ($6.22),” compared with a current average price of 110 pesos ($7.60) a kilo.
Beef prices “have dropped substantially from the 140-160 pesos ($9.70-$11) they had reached in some stores,” the minister said, though adding that “some places did not adapt to reality.”
President Mauricio Macri announced last Saturday the creation of an anti-monopoly commission, vowing to sanction businesses that “abuse a dominant position.”
Clarin newspaper reported Tuesday that the government also plans to require supermarkets to post prices on the Internet to make comparison shopping easier for consumers.