Economy Ministry promises to keep AR$350 exchange rate until November 15

Economic Policy Secretary Gabriel Rubinstein said the crawling peg would then be reintroduced at 3% per month

Argentina is experiencing an economic crisis and devaluation. Argentines look for a refuge in the dollar for their savings.

Economic Policy Secretary Gabriel Rubinstein said on Thursday that the official exchange rate will remain at AR$350 to the dollar until October 23 —  the day after the presidential elections.

Rubinstein’s comments were an answer to Juntos por el Cambio economist Carlos Melconián’s remarks that the government would devalue the peso on October 23.

“On October 23, the official dollar will be at AR$350,” Rubinstein said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) “Everyone has already realized, in the country and abroad, that without a significant amount of dollars to control the financial [exchange rate], a [devaluation] is useless.”

The day after the primaries, which took place on August 13, the government devalued the peso by 22%. This put an end to a crawling peg regime (the gradual and controlled devaluation of the currency). Economy Minister Sergio Massa said the International Monetary Fund “imposed” the devaluation on the country.

“As of November 15, the crawling peg will be at 3% per month,” Rubinstein said.

In an interview with Radio Mitre, Melconián predicted that the government would put the official exchange rate at “AR$350 plus the combined inflation rate of August September, and October’s inflation rate.”

“It will be a new exchange rate that won’t scare anyone — AR$500,” he said. Melconián is presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich’s top economics advisor and would serve as economy minister if she is elected.

Finance Secretary Eduardo Setti also took it to X to answer Melconián.

“Melconian did not read the agreement with the IMF that establishes a fixed exchange rate until November 15.“It would be good that instead of generating panic, he explained the voice notes,” he said, referring to corruption allegations surrounding Melconián’s tenure in the Banco Nación.

The back-and-forth comes amid tensions in the foreign currency market in the homestretch of the presidential elections, although they seem to have somewhat alleviated this week.

On Wednesday, the Central Bank agreed to extend its currency swap with China for a free access amount of 47 billion yuan, equivalent to US$6.5 billion. The government is also enforcing a series of restrictions on the US dollar and raiding underground exchange houses.

The “blue dollar” reached AR$1,050 last week following incendiary remarks by presidential frontrunner Javier Milei. Since Tuesday (as Monday was a bank holiday) the exchange rate decreased by 8% and closed at AR$905 on Wednesday. The difference between the “blue” and the official dollar narrowed by more than 20 percentage points to 158.5%, after being close to 200% eight days ago.

The MEP dollar rate, used in financial operations, surged by 1% this week and closed Wednesday at 870.46%.

With the election looming large, a surge in the exchange rate would further complicate the economy and the ruling party’s chances. Only two market days to go.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald