Argentina fines supermarkets $4 million dollars

The Argentine government announced that it had fined supermarkets for almost 4 million dollars in the first quarter after they breached the agreement to mitigate price inflation. However, the government stated that 73% of the establishments were complying with said agreement.

The Argentine Minister of Economy, Axel Kicillof, stated that the fines had amounted to 31,166.422 pesos (3.87 million dollars) and had fallen entirely on the supermarket chains.

The Price program agreed between the Executive, supermarkets and suppliers, which came into force to combat high inflation, comprised a set of commodities, which ranged from fresh food to cleaning products and beverages.

According to the Minister of Economy, there has been "a sharp slowdown in prices, that is obviously linked to the success of the program."

By companies, the Coto chain had the highest level of compliance, 83%, followed by Carrefour with 77%, Cencosud (Jumbo) with 73%, Supermarkets Dia with 67% and Walmart as well as Chango Mas with 58%.

Kicillof acknowledged that it wasn't always the supermarkets that breached the agreement but that the investigation of the suppliers was by far more complex. He also stated that the government was working hard and that the sanctions were not arbitrary.

The head of the Ministry of Economy also stressed the public had received the agreement with good eyes and that the shortages of some products was a sign of an increase in demand.

"We have managed to give reference prices," said Kicillof, adding that product prices were not promotions, but the price that the goods should have.

The minister announced that the government was currently seeking to achieve agreements on prices with the network of local shops, in order to include the small stores, convenience stores, minimarkets and trade shows, among others, into the price program.

According to official figures of the new consumer price index, which was introduced in 2014 after a reform of the questionable methodological criteria used by the National Institute of Statistics and census since 2007, inflation in Argentina during the first quarter of this year amounted to 9.7%.

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