Argentine stores to freeze some food prices for 90 days

Demonstrators march to protest against unemployment, food insecurity and lack of resources near an image of Argentina's former first lady Eva Peron, in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Mariana Nedelcu

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The Argentine government said on Wednesday it struck a deal with retailers to freeze the prices of 1,247 food and household products for 90 days to combat inflation as the country heads toward congressional elections next month.

Consumer prices are rising at almost 50% annually as the country pulls out of a long recession.

"We need to stop the ball so that food does not continue limiting the buying power of wage earners," the country's Secretary of Internal Commerce, Roberto Feletti, said in a statement announcing the program.

"The basic food basket in December 2019 was 9% of the average salary and in the last measurement it was 11%," he said.

While good for consumers, the price-freeze measure may generate discomfort among retailers.

The Peronist government of center-left President Alberto Fernandez got thumped in primary elections last month. The coalition wants to do better in the Nov. 14 vote.

Reporting by Lucila Sigal, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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