May 24, 2013
Marcó del Pont: ‘blue’ dollar seasonal
Argentina’s Central Bank Governor Mercedes Marcó del Pont yesterday said that the hike in the so-called “blue” dollar is “clearly a seasonal phenomenon” and considered that “it should not affect the costs set by price-makers.”
Marcó del Pont highlighted that the “blue” dollar’s influence is “marginal and does not affect exchange market operations,” where the national government has imposed restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency and on July 5 prohibited the purchase of foreign currency for saving purposes.
“The dollar bill has been linked to the demand due to tourism, with a high seasonal impact,” said Marcó del Pont, also linking it to “black market activity” which cannot access the official market. However, Argentine tourists who wish to travel abroad and who have obtained clearance from the AFIP tax agency to purchase foreign currency, complained that when the time to purchase comes, banks or exchange offices inform them that they are not cleared for such operation.
The “blue” dollar closed on Friday at 7.20 pesos, which compared to the price offered in banks and exchange offices of 4.96 pesos, the difference amounting to 45.16 percent.
In December 2010 the difference between both prices was around 2.5 percent, while in December 2011 it grew to 9.72 percent, the rising difference being due to the national government implementing more control of the foreign currency market. At the end of 2012, when the official dollar price was around 4.90 pesos and the “blue” at 6.79 pesos, the difference was 37.7 percent.
Economists consider that the hike in the “blue” dollar price, which has already increased six percent so far this year, reflects an exchange gap which is not registered on the formal market, and which will derive in higher inflation.
In her latest national broadcast, the first one of 2013, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner mentioned five times the word “inflation,” which came as a surprise to many. Buenos Aires City Cabinet Chief Horacio Rodríguez La-rreta said that the recognition of an increase in prices is “good news,” then adding that acknowledging the problem is part of the solution.
After denying for years the increase in prices, the President and her cabinet started to recognize in a indirect manner that the national statistics bureau INDEC’s methods, which are severely criticized, do not reflect the real price situation.
Radical Deputy Ricardo Alfonsín said in an interview with a local daily, that the inflation in Argentina is caused by the national government’s “clumsiness.”
Herald with DyN, Telam