Argentina's central bank hiked interest rates on its short-term securities on Tuesday in its monthly auction, the second such increase in the past three months as it seeks to soak up pesos and rein in stubbornly high inflation.
This short week and the month of January will test if the Argentine administration of president Mauricio Macri can continue to build up Central Bank reserves following on the decision to end the dollar clamp, let the foreign exchange float, together with the prospect of loans and hoarded grain sales.
Any country, any economy needs confidence and positive expectations, and that is what is lacking, and has been lacking in Argentina for many years, said Jorge Brito, head of the Association of Argentine banks, who nevertheless warned about the impacts of a 'rough' adjustment on the economy.
The central banks of Argentina and China on Thursday activated a bilateral currency-swap agreement, which meant that the Argentine central bank received an initial tranche of Yuan equivalent to 814 million dollars.
Argentina's newly-appointed Central Bank (BCRA) governor Alejandro Vanoli claimed a “devaluation attempt” by 'concentrated powers' and rejected any official plans to downward the value of the country’s currency. He pledged to discourage speculation and to “put an end to abuses from financial institutions.”
The US 'blue' or informal dollar plunged 35 cents at the end of trading on Monday in Argentina to 14.95 Pesos after dropping another 20 cents last Friday, amid uncertainty about the new Central bank authorities policies and what is anticipated will be tighter controls on 'illegal' trading.
The day after Argentina's central bank governor Juan Carlos Fabrega stepped down, investors expressed their pessimism as Buenos Aires City stock market, Merval, which plunged 7.2% to 10,703.32 points on Thursday.
Those baffled by the Argentine economy could do worse than listen to Puff Daddy. Ask what ails the country and the answer will echo the rapper’s ode to the 100-dollar bill, “It’s all about the Benjamins”.
Despite all the negative news on government restrictions imposed on the Argentine economy and the shortage of hard currency, the country's Merval Index has skyrocketed almost 100% this year, the highest of any stock market in the world. It includes many of the largest companies in the country such as Telecom Argentina and Energy Petrobras, along with banks and a steel maker.
Desperately credit-short Argentina outlined on Monday its conditions for repaying some 9.5 billion dollars in debt to the Paris Club, a senior official at the group of creditor nations said, as the government of President Cristina Fernandez seeks to revive long-stalled talks. Argentina's international reserves have fallen to its lowest level since 2006.