Buying US dollars from illegal street traders now costs 35% percent more than the official conversion rate. Tourists and locals seeking out the US currency under the table face paying up to $6,05 for each dollar instead of the official $4,48.
According to Clarin’s supplement iEco, many account holders are taking advantage of the situation by withdrawing dollars from banks to eventually sell them on the black market, thus resulting in a general increase in the availability of so-called “blue” US dollars.
Buyers, however, are waiting for the unofficial exchange rate to plummet, procrastinating their decision to buy the currency.
Undercover police agents also shut down two currency-trading shops in Palermo this morning that were operating without the licence granted by the Central Bank (BCRA). The window of the first shop, located in Federico Lacroze Avenue 2300, said “send money abroad fast and safe”
After the recent governmental crackdown on operations made in the US currency, it’s becoming increasingly hard to score dollars within the official circuits. The Federal Administration of Public Incomes (AFIP) has decided to restrict the selling of US dollars almost totally. Before, the US dollar was sold at $5,07 on the black market, 19% more than the official exchange rate.
Government sources close to the financial newspaper Ambito Financiero revealed that buying US dollars would be virtually impossible until next August.
According to the Wall Street Journal, almost US$3bn “have left the banking system since President Cristina Kirchner implemented foreign-exchange controls in late October, aimed at protecting the country’s international reserves from capital flight.”
The government is trying to save dollars as financial uncertainties still loom over the country and the global economic climate outlook is still bleak. It is planning to use $5,67 billion of reserves to pay creditors this year.
It is also not yet clear how many dollars will be required for energy subsidies and pending payments to gas companies as the cold winter approaches.