Frozen Steaks

President Nestór Kirchner has introduced voluntary price controls on hundreds of consumer products in Argentina, specifically targeting beef.

Price freezing is part of Kirchner’s continuing efforts to maintain the country’s growing economy and to stave off the accompanying surge in inflation, which have included a domestic campaign to boycott beef and prohibiting the export of most cuts of beef for 180 days.

Beef is an important commodity here both economically and symbolically, as Argentineans consume nearly 150 pounds of beef per capita annually – more than twice the average American – and it is one of the food products most associated with this country.

Reactions to these measures vary: many consumers ignored the president’s urges to boycott these goods, while producers and stores have been persuaded to put the suggested price controls in place. Ranchers, middlemen and other supporters of the beef industry are protesting the export prohibition, asserting that this may cost them important new markets abroad.

Some economists are skeptical about the long term effects of price controls, contending that they may produce a market imbalance that could eventually hurt both producers and consumers.

Source: The New York Times

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