Argentina foibles (inflation, currency and potential anarcho-capitalist experiments)

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Senator Rubio advocating support for Milei:
... Milei declared that Argentina’s “alignment is with the United States and Israel,” and that he was not “going to ally with communists.” And lo and behold, when given the chance to join BRICS, President Milei rejected it.

Last year, I urged President Biden to support his recently elected counterpart in Argentina by encouraging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restructure Buenos Aires’s debt. (The IMF just agreed to release $4.7 billion for this purpose, which is promising.) ...

I thought it was interesting that he said he may convert to Judaism. I wonder if that is part of the deal. Will he have to give up his license as a teacher of tantric sex?

Argentina can appeal in hedge funds' lawsuit over GDP-linked securities​

January 31, 20245:51 AM EST Updated 39 min ago

LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Argentina has been given permission to appeal after losing a London lawsuit brought by four hedge funds over euro-denominated securities which left the country facing a roughly $1.5 billion bill, Argentina's lawyers said on Wednesday.

The funds, holding around 48% of the securities linked to Argentina's gross domestic product in 2013, won at trial and a judge ruled Argentina should pay 1.33 billion euros ($1.44 billion) plus interest in relation to all the GDP-linked securities.

But Argentina was given permission to challenge that ruling earlier this month, the country's lawyers said in court filings at a preliminary hearing at the Court of Appeal in London.



IMF Executive Board Completes the Seventh Review of the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility for Argentina​

January 31, 2024

  • The Executive Board’s decision enables an immediate disbursement of around US$4.7 billion (or SDR3.5 billion) to support the new authorities’ strong policy efforts to restore macroeconomic stability and bring the program back on track.
  • An ambitious stabilization plan is being implemented to correct severe policy slippages in the final quarters of 2023. The plan is centered on the establishment of a strong fiscal anchor along with policies to durably bring down inflation, rebuild reserves, and tackle distortions and long-standing impediments to growth.
  • The path to stabilization will be challenging, requiring steadfast policy implementation and agile policymaking. Clear communication and well-targeted social assistance will be critical to build social and political support for the program.

Sounds like the US (which largely dictates IMF policy) is embracing Milei and pulling Argentina back from the BRICS+.
Argentine President Javier Milei achieved a significant milestone on Friday after the lower house of Congress approved his sweeping free market reform package, clearing one of the biggest hurdles on his path.

After three days of heated debate and amidst opposition pressure to thwart the entire reform package, the lower chamber of deputies approved the controversial legislation with a vote of 144 in favor and 109 against. After a short recess, lawmakers are expected to vote on the legislation article by article, beginning on February 6.
Holding just 28 of the chamber's 257 seats, Milei's party, La Libertad Avanza, was able to gain enough support to pass the bill only by dropping a number of key measures. About half of the changes in the original bill survived. Several fiscal measures were dropped, including tax increases on exports—one can dispute whether those qualify as a free market reform—and modifications to the pension system.

Milei's government also agreed to reduce the number of state-run companies it promised to privatize. Originally aiming to jettison 41 state-owned companies—including the flagship airline, Aerolíneas Argentinas; the country's largest bank, Banco de la Nación; and the news agency Télam—the revised bill now targets 27 companies. Notably, the oil company YPF and the national mint will remain state-owned, while other entities will undergo partial privatization.

While the bill was being debated, protesters gathered outside Congress in opposition to Milei's reforms. The protests led to clashes with riot police, as protesters threw rocks at the neoclassical building and the police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. More than 20 journalists were injured by projectiles, and at least eight demonstrators were arrested. Seven police officers were also injured, according to government sources.

After the vote, Milei said that the opposition leaders who supported his reforms "understood the historical context and chose to end the privileges of the caste and the corporate republic, in favor of the people, who have been impoverished and are hungry."
The approval of the omnibus bill and the IMF disbursement are good news for Milei's administration. But it is still too early to celebrate. The omnibus bill will now have to clear its next obstacle: its approval in the Senate, where Milei's party has only 10 percent of the seats.

I'm actually surprised at how much of the the original proposal got passed. I expected more of a fight from the opposition.
... in Argentina’s opposition-controlled congress where the government failed to garner the necessary legislative support for its cornerstone reform bill.

“The zero deficit is non-negotiable,” Milei said in his first interview after a trip abroad to Israel and Italy. “Cleaning up the central bank’s balance sheet is non-negotiable.”

Milei said he withdrew his sweeping omnibus bill because he’d prefer no reform at all over implementing bad reforms. He said that the International Monetary Fund expects currency controls to be eliminated by the second half of the year and that he maintains dollarization as his goal. The government will cut the deficit by five percentage points, he said, without giving a timeline for that objective.

OK, so the opposition did eventually end up killing the reform bill and Milei has signalled that he won't accept half measures. It's going to be a painful process to achieve significant reform.

Argentina’s Milei Should Dollarize after Legislative Setback​

Initial Victories

Javier Milei’s first two months in office supplied a steady stream of good news to libertarians worldwide. There was the presidential decree that deregulates large swathes of the economy, the brilliant speech at Davos—endorsed by the likes of Tesla’s Elon Musk and historian Niall Ferguson— and the government’s introduction of its “omnibus” law, a bill designed, among other things, to privatize dozens of state‐owned companies.

The only initial setback for Milei’s government was a January 30 court ruling that declared the presidential decree’s labor reform unconstitutional. Nonetheless, the government took this in stride while it adapted certain parts of the omnibus bill so as to ensure its approval in Congress. The entire content on fiscal matters, for instance, was removed, a measure some libertarians celebrated since the law had originally included tax hikes.

A buoyant mood turned outright cheerful on February 2, when the Lower House of Congress approved the omnibus bill in general terms by a 144 to 109 margin. Milei seemed to be sailing smoothly toward a full recovery of Argentina’s lost “model of freedom,” as he termed the country’s successful, nineteenth century experiment with free trade and free markets.

A Rude Awakening

Nonetheless, the narrative changed abruptly on February 5, when the Lower House voted on the omnibus bill article by article and a majority rejected its key elements, among them the privatization scheme and increased penalties for the use of violence in protests. In effect, Milei’s honeymoon period came to an abrupt end with the onset of political reality.



Argentina markets double down on Milei as investors 'start to believe'​

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Whisper it quietly, but Argentina's embattled markets are showing signs of doubling down on the country's no holds barred libertarian leader Javier Milei, betting he can pull the economy out of crisis.

Amid a painful economic downturn and with the government strapped for cash, Milei has made tough austerity a key focus since taking office in December, helping the country post its first monthly fiscal surplus for over a decade in January, music to the ears of investors after years of over-spending.

That hasn't helped him make many friends with squeezed regional governors or unions - leading to a spike in protests - but has charmed investors, pushing some bonds to four-year highs and cutting Argentina's risk index to a low since 2022.

"It seems the market is starting to believe," said financial analyst Mariano Sardans at FDI Argentina, adding if it could be maintained it would strengthen the embattled peso, allowing tough currency controls limiting dollar access to be unwound.

Argentine President Javier Milei said on Thursday he will propose a bill to penalize the central bank from financing the nation's treasury.

Milei, speaking in an interview with local news broadcaster TN, said he would look to stop the monetary authority from printing more bills in a bid to rein in inflation, which currently tops 200% annually.

The Argentine President, Javier Milei, has received U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in Buenos Aires on Friday to deepen ties and increase trade between the two countries, according to the latter in a press conference at the Casa Rosada, the presidential residence. ...
“The people of Argentina can count on us as they work to stabilise their economy,” Blinken said. “We see extraordinary opportunity here in Argentina, but maybe most important, what’s so evident is that Argentina has what the world actually needs,” he said, referring to minerals used in batteries needed for the transition to renewable energy.

News from Argentina is mostly positive so far:

Argentina's monthly inflation reading likely slowed to 15.3% in February, still painfully high but down sharply from a peak in December, as new libertarian President Javier Milei's austerity drive squeezes shoppers, helping rein in grocery price rises.

The forecast, the median from a Reuters poll of 13 analysts published on Friday, would mark a deceleration from over 20% in January and 25% the month before when Milei took office and sharply devalued the peso currency.

Milei's government, battling the highest inflation rate of any major economy worldwide with annual price rises running at over 250%, is trying to stem the flood with a major cost-cutting drive and tight monetary policy to mop up pesos.

That has helped strengthen the currency, put the brakes on prices and buoyed markets that are keen on Milei's pledge to overturn a deep fiscal deficit. But it has come at the cost of growth, with stalling consumption and production.

Argentina's peso on the parallel informal market strengthened more than 1.5% against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, breaking back below the 1,000 per dollar mark and reaching its strongest level since the end of December.

The surge comes after President Javier Milei announced on Friday he would not back down from pushing his libertarian pro-market agenda and called on lawmakers and governors to get behind his austerity drive to overturn a deep fiscal deficit.

President Javier Milei has set his sights on Argentina's largest state-owned news agency, vowing to shutter it for being "a covert propaganda ministry." The move unfolded as police fenced off the agency's offices in Buenos Aires and prevented workers from entering since midnight on Monday.

During a speech at the opening of the Argentinian Congress' 142 session last Friday, Milei announced the closure of Telenoticiosa Americana (Télam), alleging that the agency has served as "a Kirchnerist propaganda agency for the last decades," referring to former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. "It is immoral that in a poor country like ours," Milei said, "the government spends the people's money to buy the will of journalists."

Argentines have deposited more than $2.3 billion into dollar-denominated local bank accounts since President Javier Milei took office Dec. 10, reflecting incipient optimism about his government.

The nearly 17% jump to $16.4 billion means dollar deposits in Milei’s first three months have completely recovered their losses over the past year, according to central bank data. The greenbacks Argentines keep in the financial system are an informal barometer of political risk as citizens tend to withdraw money during periods of volatility and deposit savings in more stable times.

Argentine stocks surged in Tuesday’s session following lower-than-predicted February inflation figures and an unexpected move by the central bank, which slashed interest rates by 20 percentage points down to 80% a day earlier.

The Global X MSCI Argentine ETF (NYSE:ARGT), which tracks the performance of an index of Argentine stocks, closed 1.3% higher, snapping a three-day losing streak.

Government data published on Tuesday revealed that in February, consumer prices experienced a 13.2% rise from the preceding month, which was lower than the 15% gain anticipated by economists.
“We are going to return to respecting the zero deficit in February, despite a drop in revenue. We have continued with the plan of the chainsaw and the blender; the decrease in public spending is 36%. We won’t give up even a millimeter,” Milei stated.
Central Bank President Santiago Bausili highlighted that “a pronounced slowdown in inflation is observed,” despite the strong statistical drag that inflation brings to its monthly averages.
Caputo stated Tuesday at the AmCham Summit 2024 in Buenos Aires that lowering inflation is the government’s primary objective.

He also remarked on Milei’s ongoing pursuit of a “competition of currencies,” envisioning the inclusion of the U.S. dollar as legal tender.

He highlighted that the currency competition scheme aims to swiftly collapse inflation. This came after he celebrated the government’s fiscal outcome.

I am sure the USA would be willing to send a bunch of dollars over in exchange for something political.
Don't let the title of the vid fool you. Ferfal takes a quick look at things and it's not a bed of roses.

President Javier Milei already "SAVED" Argentina⁉️😲

Mar 18, 2024



Argentina’s Assets Tempt Its Creditors. Seizing Them Is Easier Said Than Done.​

About the author: Gregory Makoff is a senior fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of Default: The Landmark Court Battle over Argentina’s $100 Billion Debt Restructuring, published by Georgetown University Press this year. This is an adapted excerpt from that book.

For many, Argentina is synonymous with default, crisis, and litigation. Lately, it has been living up to this reputation: The country has lost all its foreign reserves, its debts have piled up, inflation is running at more than 140%, and Argentina is also back in court. Last year a U.S. district court judge hit the country with a $16 billion judgment related to the 2012 re-nationalization of state oil company YPF. A U.K. court also awarded a $1.5 billion judgment to a group of hedge fund plaintiffs who claimed damages relating to growth-linked securities Argentina issued back in 2005. Argentina now faces a growing risk that these plaintiffs will go to courts around the world to try to attach its airplanes, ships, and bank accounts, just as its creditors tried to do in the wake of its 2001 default on almost $100 billion in bonds.

How these two new lawsuits play out will depend on the tactics the country’s new president, Javier Milei, chooses to adopt. One positive indicator is that Milei has put Minister of Economy Luis Caputo and Central Bank Governor Santiago Bausili at the helm of his economic team. This dynamic duo is known for swiftly resolving the country’s holdout creditor litigation in 2016. Another point in Argentina’s favor is that both recent court judgments against it could be reversed on appeal. In the negative column, Argentina recently failed to post collateral to cover a portion of the amount it will owe if it loses its appeal in the YPF case, leading the judge in charge of the case to rule to allow the plaintiffs to start trying to seize Argentina’s assets.


Bitcoin is rising in Argentina as an alternative to the U.S. dollar to cope with the inflation levels in the country’s economy. Numbers offered by Lemon, one of the largest local exchanges in Argentina, indicate that bitcoin purchases have risen to a 20-month high, reaching almost 35,000 transactions in the week ending March 20.

... This bitcoin rush has been seen as unusual by analysts, as Argentines have relied on the U.S. dollar to cope with the deteriorating conditions of their economy.

While other countries in Latam have been more open to using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as investment tools, Argentina has been different. A report by Lemon issued in February found that 80% of all crypto purchases in Argentina in 2023 corresponded to stablecoins and that 70% of the deposits processed in 2023 involved Tether’s USDT, the largest dollar-pegged stablecoin in the crypto market.

However, this behavior is not limited to Lemon, as Belo, another local wallet, has reported purchase volumes of ether and bitcoin rising tenfold compared to last year’s same period. Belo CEO Manuel Beaudroit said that the bitcoin bull rally has also made stablecoins’ popularity take a hit.
This rush to bitcoin and stablecoins might be related to the relatively strong performance of the Argentine peso versus the greenback. The economic policies of President Javier Milei have reined in the dollar value as he has blocked money printing and is rebuilding the greenback reserves of the central bank.


Money Still Matters: The Case of Argentina​

Today the world is on a pure fiat money standard. Unlike the classical gold standard, there is no mechanism for maintaining long‐run price stability. Once the inflation genie is out of the bottle, the central bank may be able to tame inflation, but returning to the pre‐inflation price level is not a viable option. Therefore, it is essential that the monetary powers of central banks be strictly limited and that there be a clear separation of monetary and fiscal policy so that the central bank is unable to monetize government debt.

The challenge is to enforce a monetary rule that anchors the long‐run price level and avoids excess or deficient monetary growth. That is a difficult task because politicians are typically myopic. They tend to think in terms of policies that have immediate results rather than what needs to be done to achieve long‐run prosperity. Argentina is a prominent case: it was once one of the wealthiest nations in the world and now is plagued by hyperinflation and a 57.4 percent poverty rate.



Milei To Slash 70,000 Government Jobs To Reform Argentina's Economy​

Argentine President Javier Milei announced his plans to slash 70,000 government jobs in an effort to shrink government expenditure and reduce the national deficit to zero. The cuts are part of his broader strategy to achieve fiscal balance at any cost.

Milei announced the cuts during his closing speech at the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Buenos Aires this week.

Over 50,000 of Argentina's approximately 3.5 million public sector employees have already been dismissed, but more cuts were on the way. According to a statement by the presidential office, the remaining 70,000 new job terminations will proceed in stages, with at least 20 percent (14,000 jobs) expected to be cut by the end of March. The rest of the timeline will be announced in April.

The move has sparked significant backlash, particularly from Argentina's powerful unions. The Association of State Workers (ATE), one of the unions representing public employees, claimed that at least 10,000 state workers have already been let go as of Thursday. ATE leader Rodolfo Aguiar called the layoffs "illegal" and "unjustified" and called for a national strike on April 3.


Argentina's lower house of Congress gave President Javier Milei a boost on Tuesday by approving his sweeping reform bill ahead of a final Senate vote and backing articles related to privatizing state bodies and labour reform.

The support, even as voting on the hundreds of individual articles continued, cheered markets that have rallied on hopes that Milei's reforms and tough austerity will help erase a deep fiscal deficit and slash inflation now nearing 300%.

"The most relevant thing for markets is that the government is managing to negotiate with the opposition," local financial consultancy Adcap said in a note, though it cautioned that the bill still faced a second and final vote in the upper house.

"Now we need to see if this works in the Senate."
While his party only has a minority in Congress, Milei has won support from allies in the lower house after months of negotiations and concessions on the reform package, which was rejected at a previous vote in February.

"This support will allow Milei to govern," conservative lower house lawmaker Victoria Borrego told Reuters, referring to the president's ability to rally political support.

Milei is making some progress on shoring up support for his policies, but the Senate might still deny him. Governing with a minority is tough work.

Inflation-hit Argentina has a new top banknote, worth just $10​

BUENOS AIRES, May 7 (Reuters) - Argentina has a new largest banknote, the 10,000 peso, which is five times the size of the previous top bill though still only worth around $10 as the South American country grapples with the world's highest inflation rate that is nearing 300%.

The embattled country's central bank launched the new banknote on Tuesday, which it hopes will ease issues including people carrying unwieldy wads of cash, the demand for huge numbers of bills and banks running out of vault space.


You can live like a king in Buenos Aires for $2500/month. They need to let the $USD circulate and supplement M1 with silver coins. They also need to shrink the size of government and privatize.
Staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Argentine authorities have reached an agreement on the eighth review of the country's $44 billion extended fund facility arrangement, the Washington-based lender said on Monday.

The IMF said the decision followed better-than-expected first-quarter performance in Argentina.
Milei's plan "has resulted in faster-than-anticipated progress in restoring macroeconomic stability and bringing the (IMF) program firmly back on track," the body said.

IMF funding is likely to continue uninterrupted which means Milei doesn't have to turn to China like his predecessors were doing.
They kicked the can so much they adapted to a high inflation economy. There was no real growth and only a few benefitted.

IF given the chance Argentina could become the jewel of SA. It might take 6-7 years and a slashing of government spending which is usually the source of inflation.

The USA is headed down a similar path with big government as the solution for everything instead of the cause. The big government idiots theorize that if politicians controlled everything, then they could control money and prices. What hapoens when there are shotages in matetials and labor when citizens realize that cannot do anything to improve their standing?
Just imagine what might have been had he had sufficient support in the legislature to enact the budget and changes that he wanted.
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