New Dollar Announcements: Chief of Cabinet Jorge Capitanich and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof announced this morning a partial lift in the restrictions to purchase foreign currency. In a brief press conference, the ministers informed that, as of Monday, it will be possible to purchase foreign currency for purposes other than tourism. An authorisation by tax agency AFIP will still be necessary, however, as buyers will need to provide evidence of their income. During the press conference, Capitanich also announced that the 35% surcharge on overseas and foreign currency purchases -which is later deducted from income and/or property tax- will be reduced to 20%. Capitanich justified the decision by stating: “This decision comes as (…) the government considers that the price of foreign currency, the US dollar, has reached a convergence level that is acceptable to our economic policy objectives.”
Deadly Storm in Catamarca: At least five people have died and 11 are missing after a storm hit the province of Catamarca last night. Torrential rains and strong winds caused a river to burst its banks near the town of El Rodeo, 38km north of the provincial capital, generating a mudslide that swept along cars, houses, and a bridge. Two girls aged five and seven and two men aged 25 and 80 died due to the mudslide, whilst a woman was killed when a lightning strike hit her home in the town of Fiambalá. Six people are injured and over 200 had to be evacuated. Security Minister Cecilia Rodríguez travelled to the affected area to help coordinate rescue efforts.
Uruguayan Minister Criticises Argentine Government: “Relations with Argentina have gone south,” said Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Almagro. In an interview with Radio Sarandí, the minister talked about the deteriorating relations between the two countries, saying that after Uruguay agreed to increase production levels of the UPM pulp mill last year, Argentina retaliated with commercial restrictions against its neighbour. Almagro said that Argentina’s decision to impose an embargo on its goods being transhipped at the port in Montevideo was a “disaster” and that it caused a 40% decrease in maritime traffic in the Uruguayan capital. Almagro, however, indicated that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her Uruguayan counterpart José ‘Pepe’ Mujica could meet at the next Celac summit to be held in Havanna, Cuba, next week.