BUENOS AIRES Oct 7 Argentina's government
announced new natural gas price increases on Friday after the
Supreme Court vetoed an earlier attempt to slash subsidies for
the fuel's consumption until public hearings were held on the
Prices, published in the official gazette, will increase
between 300 and 400 percent for home heating gas and up to 500
percent for companies.
President Mauricio Macri, who took office in December
promising to lift heavy market controls favored by the previous
administration, sharply cut natural gas subsidies early in his
term in a bid to rein in the budget deficit.
Heating bills then soared during a particularly cold
Southern Hemisphere winter, prompting public protests.
Macri promised to cap home heating gas hikes at 400 percent
after the protests but the Supreme Court ruled in August that
consumers must have the opportunity to weigh in before price
increases could be applied.
The hearings were held last month.
A reversal of the price increase led consumer prices to
moderate in August, with inflation that had been seen around 40
percent on an annual basis slowing to just a 0.2 percent rise in
that month. Raising the fuel's prices will likely lead to higher
Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren is scheduled to give a
press conference to explain the measures later on Friday.
(Reporting by Hernán Nessi; Writing by Caroline Stauffer;
Editing by W Simon)