Argentina imposes currency controls to support economy


The Central Bank of Argentina bought US$300 million in pesos on Tuesday last week to try to calm markets, but the currency still depreciated by nearly 2.5 percent.

Individual Argentines will now be limited to United States dollars purchases of $10,000 a month, according to a statement published by the central bank on Sunday. It does, however, restrict people from buying more than $10,000 per month, or making transfers exceeding that amount per month.

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According to the decree, the BCRA will establish under what circumstances "purchasing foreign currency and precious coins, and transferring them overseas, will require prior authorization". Moreover, companies will not be able to accumulate USA dollars.

The decree published Sunday said the currency measures were needed temporarily to "regulate more intensely the currency exchange regime and strengthen the normal functioning of the economy".

The IMF spokesperson added that "staff will remain in close contact with the authorities in the period ahead and the fund will continue to stand with Argentina during these challenging times".

Mr. Fernandez is now the front-runner for Argentina's coming presidential election in October.

"(Foreign) trade is not restricted.

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"All of this is to preserve the economy as well as possible in this circumstance", said the source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

But past year he signed up to the largest loan in International Monetary Fund (IMF) history, at $57 billion.

"If we do not do it, the consequences would be serious".

It was at a level of 52 pesos to the dollar on Monday after the decree was announced.

The peso closed at 59.52 per dollar on Friday.

Last week, Argentina said it would seek to restructure its debt with the International Monetary Fund by extending its maturity.

The Fund's next scheduled review of Argentina's lending program is on September 15.

Some private economists said the policy announced last Friday, which could limit the availability of hard peso currency to financial institutions, looked like a return to capital controls in Latin America's third-largest economy.