Reuters has reported of up to $100 million per day been withdrawn from deposits in Argentina. All the focus is on Europe and Spain at the moment but Argentina is struggling and a series of capital controls introduced by the government has prompted this action. Of course they have been through it before and know what to expect.  Up to 1/3 of dollar deposits have been withdrawn.

BUENOS AIRES, June 8 (Reuters) – Argentine banks have seen a third of their U.S. dollar deposits withdrawn since November as savers chase greenbacks in response to stiffening foreign exchange restrictions, local banking sources said on Friday.

Depositors withdrew a total of about $100 million per day over the last month in a safe-haven bid fueled by uncertainty over policies that might be adopted as pressure grows to keep U.S. currency in the country.

It appears to stem from fear in a Government clampdown as it struggles with the economy and is on the verge of monetary restrictions.

The chase for dollars is motivated by fear that the government may further toughen its clamp down on access to the U.S. currency as high inflation and lack of faith in government policy erode the local peso.

“Deposits keep going down,” said one foreign exchange broker who asked not to be named. “There is a disparity among banks, but in total it’s about $80 million to $120 million per day.”

Its getting harder for ordinary people to get their hands on dollars as there is a distinct preference over pesos.

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

Many are taking what dollars they can get their hands on 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.

The president’s battle to slow capital flight and fatten the central bank reserves needed to pay the public debt has prompted even tighter controls in recent weeks, making it almost impossible to buy dollars at the official rate. The effects have been felt throughout the South American country’s economy.

For example. Argentines, who normally pay for new homes with stacks of dollar bills, have been struggling to get their hands on U.S. currency since Fernandez started imposing stringent controls on dollar buying late last year. [ ID :nL1E8H6EZ8]

She wants Argentines to end their love affair with the greenback and start saving in pesos despite inflation clocked by private economists at about 25 percent per year.

Fear from the recent past has driven this behaviour but its understandable.

But savers in crisis-prone Argentina are notoriously jittery. Memories of tight limits on bank withdrawals and a sharp currency devaluation remain fresh a decade after the country’s massive sovereign debt default.

“There is a lot of fear, considering everything that has happened before,” another foreign exchange broker said. “Confronted by risk, whatever kind of doubt, depositors pull their dollars out of the bank and wait to see what happens.

 

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