Jun 13, 2012

Argentine president pledges to turn her dollar savings into Pesos and urged ministers to follow

Argentine President Cristina Fernández insisted Wednesday on the need of saving in Pesos instead of US dollars and announced that she would “pesify” her dollar fixed-term bank deposit, urging her ministers to do the same.

CFK has declared three million dollars in fixed-term bank deposits. Likewise the Argentine cabinet and top officials from the Cristina Fernandez administration are estimated to have savings of over ten million dollars, according to Buenos Aires media reports based on their affidavits.

During a ceremony at the Government House where she made several announcements, the President urged Argentine people to recall the 2001 economic crisis, when “many people and some journalists” demanded a dollarization of the economy.

“I am surprised at the fact that there are people and journalists who are demanding a dollarization of the economy. If the dollarization had succeeded in 2001, we would all be dead,” the president added.

“Did you forget what happened?” she asked, assuring savers who were affected by the “corralito” they will receive Boden 2012 bonds on August 3.

Several ministers and close allies of the president called last week for the country to start “thinking in pesos.”

“You are the first in the queue to change your dollar savings into Pesos”, said Cristina Fernandez pointing to Senator and former cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez, one of the most outspoken preachers in favour of dumping dollars and trusting Pesos until he had to admit most of his savings were in greenbacks.

Likewise a report from the well known journalist Jorge Lanata who visited the Cristina Fernandez family posh hotels in El Calafate, Patagonia, showed that rates were still been billed in US dollars.

The near-impossibility of buying dollars or “dollar clamp” at the official rate is driving some savers and investors to pay a hefty premium in the black market.

Others are withdrawing dollars from banks and stashing them under the mattress or in safety deposit boxes, fearing moves by the government to forcibly “de-dollarize” the economy. Officials have strongly denied any such plan.

Meanwhile, the central bank has been snapping up almost all the dollars available as it seeks to replenish the foreign reserves earmarked for debt repayments.

So far this year, the monetary authority has bought about 7 billion dollars.

In support of her arguments President Cristina Fernandez mentioned stats from the Tax Revenue Office, AFIP saying that only 3% of Argentines hoard dollars.

“I’m president of 40 million Argentines, and therefore it is my job to look after the interests of the 40 million”.

The Argentine president also referred to a legal demand started by a solicitor from Mar del Plata claiming the government impeded him from purchasing 10 dollars for his grandchildren which was accepted by a court. However the demand was later rejected.

“Before any comments, I would say the grandpa is quite a scrooge: only ten dollars for his grandchildren!”

CFK added that behind the court case was more than the controversy over dollars, “rather, as a solicitor I can see an attempt to begin the litigation industry”. 

Tags Argentine Brazil