Argentina will increase spending on energy subsidies by more than US$ 100 million this year to compensate gas companies hit by delayed domestic price increases, a source at the nation's energy secretariat said.
The boost in spending jars with a wider campaign under President Mauricio Macri to trim subsidies and hike utilities prices. But it comes as Argentina grapples with stubborn inflation that is biting into people's wallets, and will help keep consumer energy prices lower during the southern hemisphere winter months.
These 4.5 billion pesos will have to be made up from other places, said the source, who asked not to be named, a common practice among officials in Argentina when talking with the press.
Authorities plan to increase gas prices for consumers in stages: 10% in April, 9.1% in May and 7.5% in June, but there will also be a discount of around 22% starting from June.
Macri, who is seeking re-election in October, struck a US$ 56.3 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund last year to help right the country's economy and pledged to cut subsidies and other government expenses to help reach a primary fiscal balance this year.