Ever since 2006, markets for wheat and corn in Argentina fell under the control of the government just like many other areas where the administration sought to expand power and control. This time, it was Guillermo Moreno -the “Secretario de Comercio Interior”- who devised the strategy to restrict exports so as to keep a lid on domestic food prices. Intervention is always bad, but for Argentina it is even worse when it comes to agricultural commodities given the weight they carry in relation to GDP figures.
As such, Argentina has been missing the train of international skyrocketing prices that would have greatly benefitted the sector. More recently, however, there has been talk of a partial opening of exports via the establishment of quotas. In a maneuver that can be seen as Julián Domínguez – the Minister of agriculture- gaining more influence within the administration while Moreno loses ground, Domínguez announced the possible establishment of export quotas in the amount of 18,5 million tons for wheat and 5,5 million tons for corn.
The news though, wasn’t received warmly. Some insiders to the farm industry instead of acknowledging this as progress have expressed their distrust to government measures that might keep affecting prices paid negatively as quotas would not nurture the needed competition that free markets offer and farmers can take advantage of. Still, there is a sense that with Domínguez there could be more dialogue than there ever was with Moreno.
And that can only be a good thing!