IMF censure persuades Argentine supermarkets to freeze prices
BUENOS AIRES - Agence France Presse
An employee jokes with others, not in picture, while carrying a box containing tomatoes at a grocery store in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. AP photoSupermarket chains in Argentina have agreed to freeze their prices for 60 days in an attempt to rein in inflation, according to officials on Feb. 4.
The move comes after the International Monetary Fund censured Argentina on Feb. 1 for failing to supply accurate economic data to measure inflation.
The agreement between the government of President Cristina Kirchner and the Association of United Supermarkets, which includes U.S.-based Wal-Mart and France’s Carrefour chain, will continue until April 1.
Official Argentine statistics have been significantly different from those private sector economists issue.
Last month the government claimed 2012 inflation was 10.8 percent, while a group of private economists who collate data put the rate at 25.6 percent.
Buenos Aires benefits from understating the data, as a large part of its sovereign debt is indexed to inflation.
Consumers have been complaining about the constant rise in the price of food staples.
Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino said Feb. 2 that Argentina would start using “a new consumer price index to replace the current measure that has supposedly caused so many problems for the IMF,” to start in the last quarter of 2013.