Argentina: “Blue” dollar still climbing on last working day before PASO elections
The “blue” (a euphemism for “black market”) dollar climbed AR$ 3 and reached AR$ 605 on the last working day before Sunday’s Open, Mandatory, and Simultaneous Primary (PASO) elections in Argentina, it was reported Friday in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, the official exchange rate closed at AR$ 300.
Friday’s quotation was a new all-time high for the informal greenback which went up AR$ 31 in the last five days, and AR$ 259 so far this year. The gap with the state-sanctioned exchange rate stood at 110.8%. On Thursday, the marginal currency had reached an intraday record of AR$ 610 before contracting back to AR$ 602.
Unofficial currency exchange parlors outside Buenos Aires were selling US dollars for between AR$ 610 and AR$ 615, it was also reported Friday.
The credit card dollar (for transactions abroad with a 30% PAÍS tax and a 45% collection on account of the income tax) stood at AR$ 511.35, while for purchases exceeding US$ 300 overall (which have an additional 25% surcharge), it was quoted at AR$ 584.40.
In this scenario, the Central Bank (BCRA) sold US$ 97 million in the single and free foreign exchange market (MULC), for a negative weekly balance of US$ 225 million.
The agricultural dollar contributed settlements for US$ 153 million at the special rate of AR$ 340 / US$ 1 rate in force until Aug. 31 for a total of US$ 513 million the week before the PASO elections.
In this scenario, Economy Minister and presidential hopeful Sergio Massa met with his advisors to discuss new measures to be launched next week in a volatile post-PASO scenario in which a gradual devaluation of the peso is expected to speed up.
Economy Ministry sources quoted by local media spoke of a lump sum to improve the purchasing power of lowest-income Argentines. However, no measures could be announced due to the electoral ban.