The economy rounded out in October inflation of 142.7%, which is why it is not surprising that prices act as one of the main pulleys of transmission of the tensions generated by the transition between Alberto Fernández and Javier Milei to the economy.
On the first business day post runoff, supermarkets, warehouses and other commercial sectors resumed activity with a new reality in terms of prices. In the midst of a great dispersion and disorder of values, what was recorded in Córdoba were two widespread phenomena: strong increases in some foods for mass consumption – the maximum reported is 54% for dry noodles – and/or non-delivery of products waiting to define new price lists.
In this state of situation they coincided Victor Palpacelli, president of the Chamber of Supermarkets and Self-Services of Córdoba (Casac) and head of Almacor; and German Romerogeneral director of the Warehouse Center.
While, Luis Mendezowner of the Chamber of Appliances of Córdoba and Fausto Brandolin, president of the Commercial Federation of Córdoba (Fedecom) also described a generalized situation of “retention” of products by suppliers and even businesses; all waiting to have greater clarity about what will happen to the value of the dollar and the rest of the prices before deciding to continue selling goods.
In addition to this picture of uncertainty, another factor weighs on the shelves: the expectation of the end in practice of the official measures aimed at “pressing down” prices, that is, the Fair Prices (PJ) program and the oil and flour trusts. . On paper, PJ governs until December 31, a date 21 days after the change of Government.
Although it emerged that the current administration would confirm its validity at least until December 10, authorizing increases of 5% and 8%, this has not yet been confirmed to Casac.
On the other hand, there is very little expectation of compliance with the agreement by large industries with an ruling party already in clear retreat and an incoming President who has expressly criticized these mechanisms of state intervention.
“There is a huge price disparity. Among suppliers who deliver to warehouses, increases alternate with non-delivery of products. For example, among those selling soda and beer, only 20% distributed merchandise and with increases of 20%,” said Romero from the warehouse sector.
“In milk, a first brand delivered without increase but the second and third brands arrived with increases of 17%. On creamy cheeses they were 15%. Dry noodles registered an increase of 54% due to the industry’s expectation of the end of the trust. In the oil, meanwhile, the adjustment is 38%,” Romero listed.
The leader clarified that in wholesalers, where warehouses are usually supplied, the lack of merchandise alternated with the absence of prices, even on signs.
Meat, meanwhile, also registered an increase of 7%. “But the ironed price rose 35% in October and is still behind,” explained the director of Almaceneros; remembering that the price jump was even greater after the runoff that in 2019 involved the replacement of Mauricio Macri at the hands of Alberto Fernández.
Supermarkets waiting for the jump
In supermarkets the situation is anticipated to be very similar, although Palpacelli clarified: “There are many versions of important changes in prices, especially from multinationals, but there are no confirmations yet. These are the first business hours after the election and we want to be prudent. The industry is waiting to see if the official programs are renewed, since if they do not continue there will be a clearing of prices. What the sellers and operators of the large suppliers tell us is ‘we still don’t have conditions’, and they don’t deliver merchandise.”
It is worth noting that the Fair Price system “steps on” the prices of some 52,300 mass consumption products that are sold, fundamentally, through large supermarkets. This, in a context of strong inflation, brought the price gap between this channel and that of local businesses (stores, groceries, “Chinese” supermarkets) above 30% to 40%, a figure that gives an idea of the jump that They can post the lists in supermarkets.
According to reports from large national chains, lists of strong suppliers have already been received with significant increases, reaching up to 40% in some specific cases.
For his part, from the “appliances” category, Méndez pointed out: “Most of our suppliers are with sales suspended pending until this change from the Government more or less decides. Until December 10th we are going to go through uncertain days. Then, there will be difficult months due to the adjustments that are coming, but with less uncertainty.”