Argentina: possible rate hikes cause Edenor shares to soar on Wall Street
The minister finalizes the details of next year's Budget that will define the energy subsidy policy. The strong daily rise of 23 percent of the Manzano distributor discounts a rate increase.

The preparation of next year's Budget, which Martín Guzmán must deliver to Congress in two weeks, puts an objective deadline to the definition of the policy of subsidies and energy tariffs, one of the most delicate debates of the government's coalition.

Next September 15th is the deadline for the Ministry of Economy to deliver the National Budget Law for the year 2022. This text stipulates the level of energy consumption subsidies for next year, both for gas and electricity. The reduction in these subsidies will cause the increase in tariffs. The market scenario has sent the company's shares soaring by 23 percent in dollars.

Edenor was trading at 65 pesos per share at the Buenos Aires stock exchange after showing a maximum of 69.05 pesos. In New York, the company's shares grew above twenty percent with an average price of 7.4 dollars.

"The rise is the fourth most important in its history," says a source with the company, which accumulates an increase of 70% so far this month.

Edenor's concession covers 4,637 square kilometers in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires and the northwest area of the Argentine capital where some 9 million inhabitants reside.

Currently, subsidies are the largest item in public spending, corresponding to more than 4 percent of the GDP.

In fact, energy subsidies are the only expenditure of the administration that did not lose against inflation during the current year, accumulating a 70% increase, while social spending barely exceeded an increases of 34 percent. "Without subsidies, the fiscal deficit is negligible, derisory," explains a former energy official.

"That is why it is considered a excellent distributive policy," defends a source close to the vice president Cristina Kirchner.

Energy subsidy for consumption is today the largest of public spending, corresponding to more than four percent of the GDP. In fact, energy subsidies were the only government expense that did not lose against inflation during the current year.

Officials at the Palacio de Hacienda have a different view. Cheap energy for everyone is an unviable model, especially when it comes to showing the IMF a path for reducing public deficit.

"The decision is to segment, we are working on that," a source close to Guzman says without offering further details about how it will be carried out.

Segmentation doesn't look easy. This is evidenced by the inability of the AFIP to link the CUIT number with the geolocation. And if it were only for neighborhoods, without considering the income, we must recognize that there are also poor people living in Recoleta.

Regardless of how the implementation of the new tariffs will be carried out and the reduction of subsidies in the 2022 budget whose fine prints will soon be known, the scenario ahead projects a path of tariff raises.  

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