Picasso famously had his blue period. Argentina has its blue dollar – as the black market exchange rate is known. And that’s good news for art collectors and visitors to the ArteBA art fair which kicks off this week.
Managing Argentina’s de facto multiple exchange rates is itself a fine art. But now art itself, among other things, has suddenly become cheap – provided people don’t use the official rate. Continue reading »
Dollars in Latin America may be the currency that many people think in, but only Ecuador and Panama have them as legal tender. That said, in some countries, some items are priced, and can be paid for, in greenbacks and you can even draw them out of ATMs.
Dollars are an especially sensitive subject in Argentina, where foreign exchange controls are rigid and the black market rate has soared to twice the official rate.
So here’s one provocative idea: ditch the peso in Argentine entirely. Dollarise. Continue reading »
Corruption is a popular spectator sport in Argentina – at least to judge by the TV ratings of a show by the country’s most prominent investigative journalist. Continue reading »
Argentina has frozen fuel prices for six months – it’s latest pre-electoral inflation busting wheeze.
The new measure, which follows a temporary supermarket price freeze which has already been extended to June 1, will remain in force until just before mid-term congressional elections which the government needs to win to bolster its chances of perpetuating its “model”, or maybe even its president (if she seeks constitutional changes to run for a third term) in the 2015 presidential vote. Continue reading »
World wine producers are crying in their cups. According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), world wine production fell 6 per cent in 2012, to a 37-year low. And smaller grape crops in Argentina, as well as France and Spain, are to blame.
This is bad news for Argentina, where consumers’ love affair with Malbec – at home and abroad – has put the country on the world wine map. Continue reading »
Just as in most of Latin America, many Argentines were engrossed on Tuesday night with news of the death of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.
It was then that Argentina’s economy ministry snuck out, belatedly, news of the country’s first primary budget deficit since 1996. Continue reading »
Argentina’s debt management is going to be firmly in the spotlight next Wednesday, when it squares off against so-called “vulture funds” in a New York appeals court in the pari passu case that, in the worst-case scenario, could spell a fresh default.
That’s a story for another day. But while we’re on the subject of Argentina’s debt policy, Luis Secco, an independent economist, has had a closer squint at the government’s record on debt reduction – a key tenet of government policy. Continue reading »
Argentina has an impressive ability, it seems, to bite the hand that feeds it: farming.
It’s an impression reinforced by Rabobank’s latest Argentine agribusiness outlook. Argentina’s farming sector, which makes up nearly 60 per cent of total exports ($47bn in 2012, and that was a bad year because of drought), is a key economic breadwinner, bringing home the dollars that are essential to an economically choppy country still with debt in default and cut off from international capital markets. Continue reading »
King Canute commanding the waves to go back to Bosham
Inflation-hit Argentina has just agreed a new round of price freezes with major supermarkets, neighbourhood stores and white goods retailers until April 1.
Fine… except that even Cristina Fernández, the president, is sceptical that such accords actually work and even some of the participants see it as a futile, Canute-like exercise. Continue reading »
Argentina’s unofficial foreign exchange rate – now nudging 8 pesos per dollar, a whopping 59 per cent higher than the official rate of close to 5, is not the only thing going up. Argentine equities are on a roll. Continue reading »
Argentina has designated olive oil a national food and now wants people to gobble it up so that domestic demand gives the estimated $30m industry a fillip.
You might think that Argentines already do love their olive oil – most have Mediterrranean roots, after all, and in Spain consumption of olive oil is about 13 to 15 litres per head per year, according to Juan Carlos García Zuloaga, president of the Olive Growing Chamber in the western Argentine province of Mendoza. Yet no – Argentines now consume only about a quarter of a litre each of olive oil at most a year, he says. Continue reading »
Thou shalt lend. At subsidised rates. To small businesses. Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s president, has again recently exhorted the country’s banks to direct some five per cent of their deposits to providing corporate loans.
That will create a pool of around 17bn pesos to be lent at rates expected to be around 15 per cent – well under the annual rate of inflation, which private economists estimate at around 25 per cent (official price data have lost all credibility amid six years of suspected manipulation). Continue reading »
Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s president, faced her first general strike on Tuesday. She must be getting used to protests by now, after big anti-government rallies on November 8 (dubbed 8N) and September 13 (13S).
While previous protests were the middle classes who took to the streets, this time it was workers, the bedrock of the ruling Peronist movement. For a president who is flattered by comparisons with Evita, the darling of the working-class in late 1940s and early 1950s Argentina, it must have been a painful sight. Continue reading »
Think of Buenos Aires’ chic Avenida Alvear and you think of a rarefied world of timeless elegance, luxury boutiques and swanky hotels. Not something altogether more tacky: a supermarket.
Yet that may be the way things are going in the Argentine capital’s toniest shopping street, which has seen an exodus of big-name brands as a result of the Argentine government’s import restriction policy. Continue reading »
Brazilian industrialists might desperately want to be bullish on the economic recovery hopes of neighbouring Argentina, given close trade ties between the two neighbours. But should they be?
If Morgan Stanley is right, Argentina’s hard landing this year may have cut almost a fifth off Brazil’s industrial production growth this year as exports to its neighbour plummeted. Continue reading »