Argentina softens currency rules about dollar-denominated card purchases

Now, more than 2 million Argentines are enabled to buy dollars again, said Infobae

Pesos, the currency of Argentina. Photo: Shutterstock.

After Argentina’s central bank (BCRA, its acronym in Spanish) tightened controls on buying and spending in foreign currencies in September, the package, that was designed to restrict the purchase of dollars, and limit capital outflows ahead of a sovereign debt restructuring, expired this month, as reported by Infobae.

Now, more than 2 million Argentines are enabled to buy dollars again, said Infobae. In practice, they are now able to exchange pesos up to the limit of $200 dollars a month without a quota – for the amount they are able to reach – and, given the decline in parallel exchange rates, at a cheaper price than that paid by retailers in the formal market. Dollar denominated purchases made with credit and debit cards will no longer be deducted from the $200 quota.

In mid-September, when the requirements to buy dollars at the so-called “solidarity dollar” exchange rate were tightened, the administration was seeking to reduce the gap between Argentina’s official exchange rate and that on the parallel market, but that has somewhat backfired. According to the official rate, US$1 fetches about ARS 80. The solidarity dollar jumped from ARS 103 to ARS 131 because of the new tax. The unofficial “blue” dollar, bought and sold in the parallel market has climbed from ARS 130 to ARS 145. 

Now, savers who used their quotas of $200 in the month of September and, since then, have not had access to the official dollar again will be enabled this month to buy and sell as many dollars as they want and are able to pay, in as many operations as they wish, although with a 48-hour wait known as “parking” that affects the purchase operation (not the sale one) of what is also called the “dollar Stock Exchange”, according to Infobae.

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