Argentina has ramped up export taxes on soyabeans, grains and their derivatives on 14 December to raise revenue needed to tackle a mountain of looming sovereign debt, Reuters reports.

Newly elected president Alberto Fernández issued decree 37/2019 to modify the export duties imposed by Mauricio Macri’s government back in September 2018, Agricensus said.

The centre-left politician was sworn in on 10 December and has pledged to revive growth after a painful austerity period under outgoing conservative Macri.

The decision was published in Argentina’s Official Gazette with the decree eliminating a fixed export duty of 4 pesos (US$0.21) per exported US dollar.

According to Argentine brokerage Zeni, the duties were an increase of 5.3 percentage points across the board, with the rates on soyabeans, soya oil and soya meal rising from 24.7% to 30% and those on grains (barley, corn, sorghum, sunflowerseeds and wheat) increasing from 6.7% to 12%.

The Agriculture Ministry also issued a resolution to suspend the register of grain and derivatives exports on 16 December to enable the new scheme of export duties to be implemented, Agricensus wrote.

Producers had accelerated sales of corn and other products in the run up to the new government’s arrival, while export registrations had surged as the market anticipated that an export duty hike would be one of the earliest steps by the new government to shore up its finances, Agricensus reported.

Local media reported trade sources suggesting the authorities could set even higher duties in the short term.

A market source told Argricensus that the export duty increase would have a largely negative impact on 2020/21 grain production.

Argentina was the world’s No 3 corn and soyabean exporter and top supplier of soya meal livestock feed, Reuters said.