In spite of the barrage of statements is support of currency exchange controls (or clamped dollar) implemented by the Argentine government, the Supreme Court chief justice admitted that it could soon have to deal with complaints.
On Tuesday Senator and former cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez said that “Argentina has to start thinking in Pesos” and warned critics “not to dream or think about a devaluation of the Argentine currency because it will not happen”.
Likewise Interior minister Florencio Randazzo stated that with the currency restrictions “what we are doing is defending the value of the Peso and the Argentine peoples’ pockets”.
He added “we are not worried about the parallel dollar, but that Argentina carries on growing, and that it continues with its inclusion policies like it has been doing these last years”.
On Wednesday Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina also argued that Argentina needs to go through a “de-dollarization” process and assured that “there is a segment of the Argentine population that has an obsessive-compulsive mania of thinking in dollars” and added “this is a great cultural problem”.
However Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti said before the Senate that any lawsuits over the currency exchange controls by the AFIP tax bureau will be considered by the courts. Lorenzetti, on fielding questions in the Senate, avoided giving his opinion about the restrictions, but cautioned.
“If someone feels that his individual rights are being affected, he can appeal to the justice system. My role is not to describe reality. If there is an individual appeal, we will resolve it”.
Since last October the government of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has tightened controls over the purchase of foreign currency, mainly US dollars, creating a strong parallel market and as of this week forcing anybody planning to travel overseas to fill a form with the tax office, AFIP, with details of the trip, travellers, fiscal info and where did the funds come from.
On a lighter note, in what it seemed like a system blooper, Argentine found themselves with interesting options when filling in details on the AFIP tax bureau’s travel questionnaire to purchase dollars.
Defunct countries such as the USSR, East Germany or Zaire were listed as options for travel destinations. Defunct currencies such as the Greek drachma and the Spanish peseta were also included as possible currencies to be purchased.
Meanwhile in the Buenos Aires money exchange market the official US dollar remained stable at 4.49 Pesos and the parallel or ‘blue’ dropped a cent to 5.90 Pesos at the end of trading day.
The Euro was also down four cents to 5.56 and 5.70 Pesos.
The Argentine central bank ended Wednesday with a net purchase of 10 million dollars.
Buenos Aires market analysts said that the more stable Brazilian currency Real, higher than previous weeks but less volatile has helped calm expectations in Argentina, but there could be further surprises at the beginning of June.