Argentina extends beef export cap, stoking farm tensions

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BUENOS AIRES, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Argentina extended beef export restrictions until the end of October on Tuesday, stoking tensions with the powerful farm sector as the government seeks to bolster domestic meat supply to help contain rising food prices.

The move comes months before key mid-term elections, with centre-left President Alberto Fernandez keen to avoid a sharp rise in the cost of beef in a country where families regularly gather to cook meat around the “asado” grill.

Spiralling consumer prices could hurt his party’s chances with voters in the South American country already feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government had in June limited exports of some beef cuts until the end of the year, sparking tensions with farmers. A cap until the end of August on beef shipments at 50% of the previous year’s level has now been extended by two months.

“In the short term, the tool of limiting sales abroad is essential to guarantee Argentine access to beef in the face of the sharp increase in prices for consumers,” it said in a decree in the official gazette.

 

By Maximilian Heath and Nicolás Misculin /Reuters

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