According to the Survey of supermarkets and wholesale self-services published by INDEC on April 24, by February 2024 sales fell by 11.4% and 6.2% year-on-year respectively. As for supermarkets, the average sales ticket was $15,797 and sales have accumulated a drop of 12.7% so far this year. For their part, wholesale self-services had a drop of 7.2% in 2024 and the average sales ticket was only $27,887, a negative variation of almost 100 percentage points in relation to the general evolution of prices (CPI). Sales in supermarkets recorded the lowest value since January 2017, the beginning of the series.

Source: INDEC, National Directorate of Economic Statistics. Directorate of Commerce and Services Statistics

The trend continues what has been happening in recent months. In January the drop in supermarkets had been 13.8% according to INDEC. For its part, the Argentine Confederation of Medium Enterprises (CAME) had indicated a drop of 25.5% in February, in its report it noted that “many businesses pointed out February as a month to be forgotten, with consecutive days where “No sales were recorded.”

As detailed in the INDEC report, regarding the commercial situation (sales) of their company, 51.6% of supermarkets thought that the situation will remain the same and 45.2% that it will worsen in the next 3 months. Regarding prices, 75.8% believe that they will continue to increase for the next quarter.

Freedom for entrepreneurs at the cost of increasing poverty

The Milei government’s blender and chainsaw plan is against the working majority who see their purchasing power for salaries and pensions strongly affected, and also against small merchants who, in addition to the drop in sales, are accompanied by strong tariffs of up to 500% in services.

According to calculations by Luis Campos, coordinator of the Social Law Observatory of the autonomous CTA, the salary of registered workers (RIPTE) has accumulated a drop of 19.2% compared to November and 24.7% compared to February of last year.

Regarding prices, large food companies amass million-dollar fortunes, while the government gives them greater freedom to raise prices: they repealed the Supply, Gondolas, Price Observatory and Regulation laws for sugar mills.

For March, the basket that measures poverty increased 308.2% in one year. That is, the prices of essential goods (the Basic Food Basket) increased above the general price level. For March, a household of 4 members needed $358,049 to avoid falling below poverty. In this way, the Minimum, Living and Mobile Wage was below ($202,800 as of March) the food basket.

According to Unicef, child poverty would have grown from 57% in the first half of 2023 to 70%. Today, 7 out of 10 boys and girls are poor. This is a direct consequence of Milei’s adjustment policies, on the already critical situation left by the Frente de Todos.

Milei and Caputo’s policies freeze the economy and consumption plummets due to the loss of purchasing power of wages. The stoppage of economic activity also impacts lower revenue and, therefore, failure to meet the deficit reduction goal proposed by the government with the IMF. This can lead to a situation of permanent adjustment that never completely solves the problem of the fiscal deficit, even aggravating it, and requires new stages of cuts in public spending. We must confront Milei’s adjusting measures against working people.


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