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Mexico tortilla producers say they will not hike prices, for now

Mexico tortilla producers said on Friday they agreed not to raise prices after economy ministry officials promised to help contain rising costs.

Homero Lopez, president of the National Tortilla Council, told Reuters that economy officials promised to come up with some measures by next week at a meeting on Thursday.

“We will not seek to raise prices indiscriminately,” he said, adding that his organization represents 80 percent of the country’s tortilla makers.

Earlier this week, producers warned that they could increase the price of tortillas by 20 percent in the coming days due to rising costs of corn and fuels.

The corn patties are a staple of the Mexican diet and higher prices have triggered protests in the past.

Mexico’s government denounced the forecast price hikes as unjustified as it sought to allay public concern about high inflation at the start of a presidential election year.

Deputy Minister for Industry and Commerce, Rogelio Garza, told Reuters on Friday that the meeting sought to find mechanisms that would help the producers stay competitive.

“More than a pact, we reviewed market conditions. They agree that there is not sufficient reason to increase prices now,” Garza said.

Inflation in Mexico is near a 16-year high just below 7 percent, and the forecast tortilla price hike, as well as estimates of rising gasoline costs, triggered outrage on social media and threats of protests earlier this week.

The price of the tortilla increased about seven percent in the first 11 months of 2017 to around 14.01 pesos ($0.7307) per kilo, according to official figures.

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