Argentina’s government is freezing prices on 1,432 household items in an effort to cool accelerating inflation ahead of November’s midterm election and the Christmas holidays.
Prices will remain fixed until January 7 on the products, a larger list than the roughly 900 items government officials had originally pitched to companies and supermarkets last week. Talks between the government and industry leaders on a price agreement fell through Tuesday.
It marks the latest chapter in the government’s tense relations with the private sector, following a failed nationalization of a soybean exporter, temporary export bans and a prohibition on firing workers. Interior Commerce Secretary Roberto Feletti criticized business leaders in his statement Tuesday.
“There are factions in the business leadership that aren’t conscious of their privileges and refuse to adopt a collaborative and contemplative attitude on the tough situation that the Argentine people are living through today,” Felet said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the government published the full list of price freezes. Spanning 880 pages, the list includes some traditional staples such as milk, beef and pasta. But freezes also apply to certain brands of beer, wine, ice cream and chocolate, as well as dog food.
Inflation accelerated past expectations in September with consumer prices rising 3.5% from August, putting the annual figure at 53%. President Alberto Fernandez’s coalition faces a tough midterm election next month after it suffered a major defeat in a primary vote. Price controls have frequently been imposed in Argentina in recent decades, but have generally failed to achieve their objective of halting wage-price spirals.