Oil and Gas

Argentina strikes deal with oil companies to freeze fuel prices

BUENOS AIRES, May 8 (Reuters) - Argentina’s Energy Ministry said on Tuesday it had reached a price stability agreement with YPF, Pan American Energy and Shell to freeze gas prices for the rest of May and June.

The measure will help control consumer prices “in favor of general economic interest,” the ministry said in a statement. It said the companies would be compensated for any costs related to price variations over the six months starting July 1.

The announcement follows a tumultuous few weeks for Argentine financial markets that led the central bank to hike the benchmark interest rate to 40 percent on Friday and the government to say it was seeking financing from the international monetary fund on Monday.

Argentina is battling one of the world’s highest inflation rates and is not expected to make the central bank’s target of 15 percent this year. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer Editing by Leslie Adler)