Argentina is set to address its recent fuel shortages as the government and oil companies confirm the arrival of fuel shipments, offering relief to the long queues at gas stations that resulted from a surge in demand.
Energy Secretary Flavia Royon announced that ten fuel shipments, which have been imported by the government, have begun to arrive. However, it may take a few days for the distribution to normalize. Importantly, she assured the public that there would be no sudden or sharp increases in fuel prices.
The fuel shortage was attributed to a combination of factors, including increased tourism during a long weekend and rumors of potential price hikes following the upcoming presidential election on October 22, with a runoff vote scheduled for November 19. These circumstances created a sense of urgency among consumers to fill up their tanks, leading to the shortage.
In Argentina, approximately 80% of the local fuel market is supplied by domestic refineries, with the remaining 20% reliant on fuel imports.
The long queues at gas stations have added to the frustrations of the Argentine population, who are already grappling with an economic crisis characterized by soaring inflation of nearly 140% and a currency that has depreciated by 42% over the course of the year.
In a joint statement, major oil companies including YPF, Raizen, Trafigura, and Axion Energy assured the public that fuel supply would return to normal in the coming days. They outlined several contributing factors to the shortage, including increased demand associated with the presidential elections, the beginning of crop planting season, and a higher-than-usual reliance on fuel imports. Additionally, they noted that expectations of a shortage had further exacerbated demand.
Farmers, in particular, have expressed concern over the diesel supply shortage, as it could impact the start of planting season, which is crucial for Argentina's major soy and corn crops.