Is a typical Argentine expression that I love. Literally it means ‘not even if I’m drunk’, it’s a strong way of saying ‘never in my life’!
Only a couple of days after Cristina’s reelection, her minister of economy Boudou took a few important measurements. On friday and Monday exchange offices were checked up and closed by AFIP (tax controls) so many expected the peso to be devaluated, but only on monday afternoon it became clear that this is not (yet) the case. The government decided to go after black money and to stop dollars from leaving the country. The casas de cambio are now online connected to the AFIP where they check your credit rating. This week 70% of all exchanges were refused. All week it has been the talk of the town.
In a country that has had so many economical crisis and devaluation problems, the dollar is used a lot here. Buying real estate is exclusively in dollars, rent often has to be paid cash in dollars, let’s say that everything that is expensive is priced in USD.
But it is not just that. After the last crisis in 2001, people have lost all faith in the peso and in the banks. We can all understand this, but the Argentines go very far in their mistrust.
Like this woman in her early 30ties who told me that “ni en pedo” is she going to save pesos. She has a bank account with a minimum amount of money on it. All the extras are exchanged in dollars and kept in her house. And I know she is absolutely no exception. Many middle class people do this, the upper level in society have bank accounts abroad. In dollars.
It was to be expected that the black market is now flourishing. You hear numbers like 5.57 for the dollar, 6.45 for the euro. Both outrageous as the official rates are 4.2 and 5.8.
Of course trying to decrease the black money is a good thing. It is what happened in ‘the first world’ 30 years ago. Where as for our parents it was normal to have black money, nowadays it is unthinkable. But Argentina is no first world country, it has a bad history of economical instability and as long as the government doesn’t start thinking long term, the instability will stay. And as long as there is instability, the Argentines will be very careful with who they trust with their money.
We will see where this new law takes us, and the Argentine saving money. This might be interesting.