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Argentina Is Running Out Of Options

•, Walter Kurtz

The nation's fiscal problems are escalating rapidly as it undertakes what amounts to a form of nationalization.

 A great deal of hard currency now goes to support domestic importers (that are forced to sell at a loss to keep prices under control) and the country is becoming desperate for dollars needed to import the products the population needs. In the past, some of the greatest sources of foreign currency for Argentina have been grain exports, particularly soy. Except now there is a problem ...

With fiscal deficit growing rapidly and access to international markets shut off due to the recent default, Argentina's central bank has been doing the only thing a central bank can do in this situation - monetize the deficit by printing more pesos. This has resulted in inflation levels of over 36% this summer and probably even higher currently. Not quite Zimbabwe levels yet, but moving in that direction.

 In response to such inflationary pressures and fully aware that further currency devaluation by the Fernandez regime is inevitable, businesses and households are hoarding dollars. One US dollar now trades at over 15 pesos in the unofficial ("blue") exchange market - some 80% premium to the official exchange rate.



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