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Argentina Freezes Fuel Prices for Six Months to Stem Inflation

Argentina froze the price of gasoline and diesel sold at service stations for six months in a bid to stem annual inflation as high as 25 percent.

Price caps were set for six areas covering the whole country in a resolution by Internal Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno published in the official gazette today.

The fuel price restrictions follow agreements with supermarkets to freeze prices at least until June 1 as President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner struggles with surging consumer prices before congressional elections in October. An independent inflation gauge published by opposition lawmakers estimated prices rose 25 percent in the year through Feb. 28, compared with a 10.8 percent rate reported by the government’s statistics agency for the same span.

“It’s absolutely necessary to dictate policies to determine the price of liquid fuels in order to avoid inconsistencies in the price paid by consumers,” Moreno said in the resolution.

YPF SA (YPFD), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Bridas Corp.’s Axion Energy and Petroleo Brasileiro SA are the largest refiners in Argentina.

Petrobras and Shell declined to comment. YPF said in an e- mailed statement that the measures won’t affect its business plan. Axion didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pablo Gonzalez in Buenos Aires at pgonzalez49@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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