Massa says Milei’s dollarization plan means a ‘100% devaluation’ of the peso

The libertarian economist had said he would dollarize Argentina’s economy at AR$730 per dollar if elected president

Economy Minister and Unión por la Patria (UxP)’s presidential candidate Sergio Massa said Wednesday that Javier Milei’s proposal to dollarize the economy would imply “a 100% devaluation” of the peso.

“[Milei] has begun revealing that what he has so far called ‘dollarization’ is actually a 100% devaluation [of the peso], something the IMF asked us to do four months ago,” Massa said during an interview with TV channel C5N. 

The Economy Minister claims that during negotiations for the combined fifth and sixth reviews of Argentina’s agreement with the IMF, they asked Argentina to do a 100% devaluation of the peso. The Argentine government rejected this idea, but ultimately agreed to move ahead with a 22% devaluation, which Massa applied the day after the primaries where UxP ended up third, behind Milei and Juntos por el Cambio (JxC).

Massa said that Milei’s dollarization plan would also mean that “public universities would no longer be free; train fares would cost AR$1.100, and the bus fare would be AR$650.” Current minimum fares are AR$25 for trains and AR$52 for buses in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area. 

“Milei’s mask just fell off,” the minister said, adding that 2024 will be a “great year for Argentina” unless libertarians “who want to swiftly get dollars to pay the IMF and bond holders instead of standing up for Argentine’s quality of life” win the elections.

Massa was referencing a presentation Milei gave at the Latam Economic Forum in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, where the libertarian economist and presidential candidate for La Libertad Avanza (LLA) said that he would dollarize the economy at AR$730 per dollar if elected president.

“I am a liberal; I believe in the price system, so [the dollarization] is going to be done at market price,” Milei said. “How much is the blue-chip swap rate? AR$730. Today, [the price] would be AR$730.”

In March, consulting firms calculated that the exchange rate for a dollarization plan ranged between AR$7,070 and AR$9,944 per US dollar. “Don’t be fooled by these criminals,” Milei said during the forum. 

Members of JxC also came out against Milei’s dollarization proposal. “Dollarizing at AR$730 like Milei is saying he wants to do is impossible to apply,” said economist Carlos Melconian, JxC’s presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich’s prospective Economy minister.

“If I need to exchange dollars for pesos, and I have zero or minus 10,000 dollars — which is what the government currently has — how does this make any sense?” Melconian told TV channel TN. “It’s a fantasy. There’s no exchange rate. This is how fabulation starts. It needs to be said that a person currently earning 500 dollars at a AR$350 exchange rate would make 250 dollars [with Milei’s plan].”


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald