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So what's the situation "on the ground" with the currency crisis?

So what's the situation "on the ground" with the currency crisis?

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Old May 16, 18, 11:24 am
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So what's the situation "on the ground" with the currency crisis?

With the Argentine peso "in freefall" (as the media says), what is the impact "on the ground" for tourists in Buenos Aires and elsewhere in Argentina? Are businesses (like restaurants, taxis, hotels, etc.) still pricing in pesos? Are those prices constantly changing? Can you get cash at an ATM? Can you pay with a credit card? Is there any disruption from all this? Protests?

Sadly, I've seen this movie before (and I guess everyone in Argentina can say the same). I'm hoping that by the time of my next visit in a few months, things are somewhat settled. I'm kind of holding off on doing any planning for my trip to see what happens. I assume nobody will sell me a future date hotel reservation in pesos right now.
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Old May 16, 18, 12:08 pm
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I think you are confusing the current situation with hyperinflation periods of the past or the 2001/2002 crisis, and current events are very different from those periods.

Life these days is business as usual. Everyone is pricing in pesos, prices are not constantly changing, ATMs are working, credit cards are accepted (I actually bought a plane ticket in a European website with my Argentine credit card a few days ago, and had no issues at all), and there are no disruptions other than your typical daily Buenos Aires protests.

Prices will obviously rise in many items over the next weeks, as customary after a devaluation, but this is not Argentina in the late 1980s nor Venezuela, where they change daily.

I don't see why you shouldn't plan your upcoming trip. We are at the end of the "hot sale days" here and there were quite a few nice offers (in pesos) in plane tickets and hotels throughout the country. Maybe it's worth taking a look.
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Old May 16, 18, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
I think you are confusing the current situation with hyperinflation periods of the past or the 2001/2002 crisis, and current events are very different from those periods.

Life these days is business as usual. Everyone is pricing in pesos, prices are not constantly changing, ATMs are working, credit cards are accepted (I actually bought a plane ticket in a European website with my Argentine credit card a few days ago, and had no issues at all), and there are no disruptions other than your typical daily Buenos Aires protests.

Prices will obviously rise in many items over the next weeks, as customary after a devaluation, but this is not Argentina in the late 1980s nor Venezuela, where they change daily.

I don't see why you shouldn't plan your upcoming trip. We are at the end of the "hot sale days" here and there were quite a few nice offers (in pesos) in plane tickets and hotels throughout the country. Maybe it's worth taking a look.
Thanks. Yes, I know this hasn't (yet?) reached the craziness of 2002, but the Argentine peso has declined about 20% against the dollar in a month! I'd be pleasantly surprised if my trip to Argentina would now be (almost) 20% cheaper. If this holds, I will be spending more time in Argentina and less time in, say, Chile (where their currency is a little weaker, but still quite strong). FWIW, on my last trip to Argentina, a few months ago, I found the Peso to be somewhat overvalued -- in the sense that many things seemed as expensive in Argentina as in the USA. That was 17 pesos to the dollar instead of today's 24 or 25. Which leads to one more question: are tbe "cambio" guys back, and what is their rate?
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Old May 16, 18, 12:41 pm
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This shouldn't reach the levels of 2002 by any standards simply because the situation is different -- in 2001/2002 the whole Argentine economy used US dollars and the Central Bank had run out of US dollars. Now the problem is that the government is financing its debt with credit, and since the US interest rates rose, credit became more expensive, and investors turned back to the USA instead of buying Argentine bonds. It's far from ideal, but it is not caothic -- yesterday the Central Bank sold new bonds and they were oversubscribed, and the peso seems to have stabilised. Besides, over 80% of bank loans these days are in pesos or in UVAs (an inflation-based index), whereas in the 1990s 100% of the loans were in dollars.

As discussed in another thread, the peso is (still) overvalued. With the USD at 18 pesos, having dinner at an average restaurant in Buenos Aires was the same in euros than having dinner at an average restaurant in Rome, and that is ridiculous. And the cost of living was also quite expensive in international standards -- a 2L bottle of mineral water is 26 pesos at the supermarket, around 1 dollar now, but almost 1.50 dollars a few months ago.

There are cambio guys but there is no "blue" rate anymore, so going illegal doesn't have many perks. According to El Cronista, the spread between the official rate and the paralelo is less than 5%.
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Old May 16, 18, 3:15 pm
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It does not have to be 2002, or 2013 or 1990, for the "Cambio guys" to come back, a "paralelo" of 10% is more than enough to bring them back in force.
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Old May 16, 18, 3:53 pm
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Thanks for the update. For both locals and tourists, I hope the devaluation of the peso is orderly. All of us knew the peso was overvalued. I don't think it's a good thing for Argentina for the devaluation to occur so quickly. Hopefully, the process will be orderly. Given Argentina's history, I wouldn't necessarily count on that, but I'll remain hopeful.
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Old May 16, 18, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Thanks for the update. For both locals and tourists, I hope the devaluation of the peso is orderly. All of us knew the peso was overvalued. I don't think it's a good thing for Argentina for the devaluation to occur so quickly. Hopefully, the process will be orderly.
You are right. It is much better to use up every one of their last US Dollar reserves until a less orderly disastrous crash happens.
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Old May 17, 18, 7:09 am
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The truth of the matter is that the peso has been hold back by the government in an effort to reduce inflation. This has been done with foreign debt without a conscious reduction of government deficit. It seems that the worst is now over, but still, Argentina economy is very expensive.
I don't think we're going to see the same situation as in 2001/2002

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Old May 17, 18, 7:14 am
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Inflation rate has roughly been the same every year of the eleven years I've lived here so it's nothing new.
Fortunately our income rises more or less in line with inflation so our lifestyle hasn't changed. If you were used to exchanging your dollars for pesos with some bloke up a back alley you may find holidaying here costlier but the more favourable official exchange rate should cancel out most of the costs.

It's Argentina...
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Old May 17, 18, 7:23 am
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If you're paid in the US in dollars your view of Argentina's prices is partially subjective. Buenos Aires is a big city. The opulent parts of it are as expensive as a lot of other big cities.

If you look around you can find boutique hotels that deliver excellent service for reasonable prices in Recoleta. Shopping around for restaurants works too. Uber is also cheaper than the US.

That said, Buenos Aires is far too sophisticated to diminish to dollars and pesos. It's one of my favorite cities and I would pay much, much more to visit.
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Old May 18, 18, 6:20 am
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I found this story on the latest peso crisis to be interesting:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...tion-mauricio/
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Old May 18, 18, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I found this story on the latest peso crisis to be interesting:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...tion-mauricio/
Without getting too political in this thread, remember the source of the article. Note that quotes like this: " A 2001 government default was followed by 12 years of leftist rule that left Argentina struggling to rebuild its treasury and clean up its reputation in the global financial circle" are not particularly instructive, because it wasn't the "leftist rule," it was the incessantly-corrupt, bat$!* crazy rule. Note that neighbo(u)rs Chile and Uruguay have had predominantly "leftist" rule during years of stability and growth.
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Old May 18, 18, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Without getting too political in this thread, remember the source of the article. Note that quotes like this: " A 2001 government default was followed by 12 years of leftist rule that left Argentina struggling to rebuild its treasury and clean up its reputation in the global financial circle" are not particularly instructive, because it wasn't the "leftist rule," it was the incessantly-corrupt, bat$!* crazy rule. Note that neighbo(u)rs Chile and Uruguay have had predominantly "leftist" rule during years of stability and growth.
Argentina just always seems to be Argentina. Just when you think that MAYBE it will become a "normal" country, weird stuff happens again.

My next visit is supposed to be to Patagonia. Even in relatively "calm" times, weird stuff happens in Patagonia. Like there's no gas to buy (big problem if you're on a Patagonian road trip). This has now happened to me twice. You can probably understand my concern that, given that latest economic developments, I could run into some "problems." FWIW, I like Argentina a bit more than Chile but, for practical reasons, I tend to spend more time in Chile. Stuff "works" there, no matter who's in charge.
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Old May 24, 18, 12:09 am
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Am just back from a trip to BA (my first) and Santiago (not my first) and can say that as of a little more than a week ago my experience was much like what Marambio posted. Lots of chatter on the daytime shows (especially business shows but also the info-tainment ones) about the situation, but prices were still in pesos. The ATMs with exorbitant fees and low maximums were irritating. Of course I used credit cards anytime it made sense but am at the budget level so it's not automatic. Was able to pay even some small market vendors in dollars at 23-ish rates a time or two.

Felt like I got the hotel deal of the year with a single room at the Telmho Boutique Hotel (across from Plaza Dorrega) at $114 a-i for 5 nights, using a 15% off coupon (had to be prepaid with no refunds, though).

Overall it's not the great deal that Thailand was in 1998 or certain other cases, but it was all manageable, at least in BA.

Chile did seem pleasantly less chaotic by comparison.
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Old May 24, 18, 11:11 am
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Originally Posted by RustyC View Post

Felt like I got the hotel deal of the year with a single room at the Telmho Boutique Hotel (across from Plaza Dorrega) at $114 a-i for 5 nights, using a 15% off coupon (had to be prepaid with no refunds, though).

...

Chile did seem pleasantly less chaotic by comparison.
(1) How did you like the hotel? I frequently walk by it but haven't heard much if anything.
(2) Your Chile comment is why many seem to like Argentina better
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