BUENOS AIRES – Fuel prices will increase by 6 percent in Argentina under an agreement between oil companies and the government of President Mauricio Macri to compensate the sector for losses resulting from the steep fall of the peso since currency restrictions were lifted, Clarin newspaper reported Tuesday.
Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren met Monday with executives from YPF, Shell, Axion, Petrobras and Oil.
The companies expressed concern over the 30 percent depreciation of the peso that followed the lifting of exchange controls late last month.
The firms that produce crude oil in Argentina agreed to reduce the price per barrel, bringing down the cost of the most expensive grades from $77 to $67.60 a barrel, while the cheapest will fall from $66 to $63.
Even with those reductions, Argentine producers will still be getting more than the global market price.
The other part of the accord mandates a 6 percent increase in retail prices for fuel.
Even so, the 6 percent hike in effect starting Wednesday, and an additional 7 percent increase in prices scheduled in March, will not be enough, according to the oil companies, and new price increases may be applied through the course of the year.
Gasoline prices jumped nearly 15 percent during 2015, from 11.30 pesos (81 cents at the current exchange rate) per liter (0.26 gallon) to 13.01 pesos (94 cents). After Wednesday’s increase the average gasoline price will be roughly 13.79 pesos (99 cents) a liter.
In the longer term, the conservative Macri administration, which took office Dec. 10, wants to scrap the controls and allow market forces to determine fuel prices.