The Argentine government of President Alberto Fernández has announced all meat exports will be banned for the next 30 days in an attempt to slow down inflation as domestic prices went up 20% owing to foreign demand.
The Ministry of Productive Development has briefed the Consortium of Argentine Meat Exporters (ABC) on the decision to ABC President Mario Ravettino, who was summoned to the Casa Rosada Monday.
Although the suspension will be for 30 days, Ministry sources have leaked it will rather last until the domestic market is in order, according to local media.
Rural entities grouped under what is known as Mesa de Enlace (Liaison Board) have warned such a decision would have no effect on prices and could affect the beef stock in the medium term. They recalled that Kirchnerism adopted a similar measure 15 years ago, when they announced it would be for just six months, but it ended up lasting 10 years.
The Liaison Board pointed out that during that period 12 million heads of cattle and more than 10,000 jobs were lost through the foreclosure of livestock establishments.
Fernández said he was concerned about the escalating inflation: I have watched with great concern what happened in March and April, and I am not willing to sit idly by. He added that “I am very determined to take care of the price issue and put things in order, as he found the increase in domestic prices inexplicable.
In April, the government had set new requirements on exporters of beef, grains and dairy, forcing them to register within the Agrifood Chain Operators Registry (RUCA), which depends on the Ministry of Agriculture, which heralded the return of tougher restrictions, which, analyst believe, were boosted by last week's inflation data released by INDEC.
Inflation in April was 4.1% and meat accumulated an increase of 64.7% in twelve months. In that month, the food item increased 4.3%, with an incidence of increases in milk, bread and meat. In the first four months of 2021, the meat went up 22.2%.
The increase could be explained by the international price, but it is also true that transferring that value to the domestic price does not have much justification, said the President.
“Once again our neighbours celebrate that we leave the door open for them to take advantage of the markets,” an agrifood producer complained on his Twitter account.