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LatinNews Daily - 13 April 2021

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In brief: Uruguay freezes fuel prices

* The Uruguayan government has announced that it will freeze fuel prices this year in a bid to support local business and kickstart a domestic economic recovery. Economy & Finance Minister Azucena Arbeleche explained that international oil prices have risen by 30% between December 2020 and March 2021 and this has led to an increase in petrol fuel prices of between 10% and 25% in Latin America. However, Arbeleche said that the government has decided to not to increase domestic prices as a way to alleviate the financial pressure on local firms and households, which have suffered the economic effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “The government is providing this support for the entire productive sector… for small firms to weather the pandemic and for people in general”, Arbeleche said. The minister noted that the measure would cost the government some US$30m a month and that “this will significantly deteriorate fiscal results”, but said that the executive led by President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou considers that this is necessary and has decided to use the savings achieved in 2020 to absorb these costs.