By Hugh Bronstein and Maximilian Heath
BUENOS AIRES, Apr 23 (Reuters) – The Argentine government is analyzing the possibility of increasing taxes on food exports as a measure to control the sharp rise in domestic consumer prices, the Secretary of Domestic Trade said in an interview on Friday. with the local radio station El Uncover.
Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of soybean meal and oil, the third largest of corn, and an important global supplier of wheat.
However, the country suffers from a dramatic inflation rate that according to state data was 42.6% in the last twelve months to March, sustained in part by sharp increases in food prices.
The government of Peronist Alberto Fernández attributes the rise in Argentine gondolas to high international grain prices, which are at their highest levels in years.
“An increase in the tax on food exports is under analysis,” said Paula Español, Argentina’s secretary of Domestic Trade, who described the potential measure as a way to “decouple international prices from domestic prices.”
Argentina currently taxes soybean exports by 33%, soybean meal and oil by 31%, and foreign sales of wheat and corn by 12%.
At the beginning of the year, the Argentine government applied limits to corn exports to try to control domestic prices, but backed down after protests by producers. He also threatened to raise the tax on wheat exports, but did not end up moving in that direction either.
“Again declarations of this tenor? These untimely sayings, unnerve our producers, generate concern,” said Carlos Iannizzotto, president of the agricultural association CONINAGRO, on his Twitter account.
CONINAGRO is one of the four main agricultural associations in the country, which carried out a commercial strike in the first months of the year in protest against government intervention in the grain market.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Maximilian Heath; Edited by Jorge Otaola)