Argentina will re-open a meat futures and options market in the province of Santa Fe to help stabilise the country’s volatile beef prices, a spokesman for the Agriculture Secretary confirmed to just-food.

The market will launch in the city of Rosario, the most industrial town in the province, and located 300 kilometres north of the capital Buenos Aires. Rosario hosted a similar market in the late 1990s but it closed amid thin trading levels.

The move comes as meat prices have skyrocketed in Argentina, the world’s biggest per-capital beef consumer, adding to inflationary pressures.

In an effort to fix the problem, the government recently increased export taxes to 15%, prompting bitter complaints from exporters, who are lobbying against the measure.

The new market is expected to help stabilise prices by giving players a hint of future meat values. It will enable producers to leverage sale profits and processors/distributors to better predict costs.

The Agriculture Ministry is considering expanding the market to include the Mercosur trading block, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and most recently Venezuela.

However, the initiative is still in the negotiating phase, he said.