Argentina pegs supermarket price rises for two months

Image caption The French-owned Carrefour is among the major supermarkets who have agreed to the price freeze

The Argentine government has put a temporary price freeze on all products sold in the country's main supermarket chains to try to fight inflation.

A group representing two-thirds of Argentina's supermarkets agreed to keep prices steady until the first of April.

The move comes days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) censured Argentina for issuing inaccurate economic data.

The government says inflation is below 11% but economists say it is double.

Analysts have accused Argentina specifically of understating the rate of inflation since 2007 in order to keep interest rate payments on its debt low, and to flatter the political regime.

Some economists think the annual inflation rate could rise as high as 30% this year.

The supermarket agreement covers every item in all of the nation's largest chains.

They include Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo and Disco.

Argentina's commerce ministry has asked consumers to monitor prices in the chains.

It wants them to keep receipts and has set up a hotline for shoppers to call if they spot any price rises.

The IMF on Friday formally censured Argentina for putting out inaccurate data.

It says if Argentina does not improve the quality of the statistics before late September, it will be excluded from taking part in IMF decisions later this year.

Economy minister Hernan Lorenzino has moved to avert the IMF's actions by promising to bring in a new inflation measure starting in the last quarter of this year.

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