ANL 33.80 Increased By ▲ 1.05 (3.21%)
ASC 15.13 Increased By ▲ 0.75 (5.22%)
ASL 25.50 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
AVN 95.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.20 (-0.21%)
BOP 9.17 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.22%)
BYCO 10.23 Increased By ▲ 0.25 (2.51%)
DGKC 137.50 Increased By ▲ 2.20 (1.63%)
EPCL 51.62 Increased By ▲ 0.37 (0.72%)
FCCL 25.00 Increased By ▲ 0.31 (1.26%)
FFBL 25.45 Increased By ▲ 0.95 (3.88%)
FFL 15.70 Increased By ▲ 0.28 (1.82%)
HASCOL 10.90 Increased By ▲ 0.18 (1.68%)
HUBC 86.75 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.01%)
HUMNL 7.10 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
JSCL 27.04 Increased By ▲ 0.45 (1.69%)
KAPCO 40.00 Increased By ▲ 0.80 (2.04%)
KEL 4.15 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.97%)
LOTCHEM 14.80 Increased By ▲ 0.08 (0.54%)
MLCF 47.59 Increased By ▲ 0.75 (1.6%)
PAEL 38.30 Increased By ▲ 1.20 (3.23%)
PIBTL 11.91 Increased By ▲ 0.08 (0.68%)
POWER 10.70 Increased By ▲ 0.20 (1.9%)
PPL 90.97 Decreased By ▼ -0.53 (-0.58%)
PRL 27.45 Increased By ▲ 1.63 (6.31%)
PTC 8.81 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-1.01%)
SILK 1.40 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
SNGP 43.75 Increased By ▲ 2.68 (6.53%)
TRG 147.70 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
UNITY 31.20 Increased By ▲ 0.72 (2.36%)
WTL 1.52 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-1.3%)
BR100 5,016 Increased By ▲ 30.84 (0.62%)
BR30 26,130 Increased By ▲ 297.73 (1.15%)
KSE100 46,158 Increased By ▲ 193.53 (0.42%)
KSE30 19,308 Increased By ▲ 71.8 (0.37%)
Markets

Argentine peso, inoculated by controls, outperforms amid pandemic

The currency, which lost around three-quarters of its value against the dollar in 2018, and 2019, combined, has edg
20 Mar 2020
  • The currency, which lost around three-quarters of its value against the dollar in 2018, and 2019, combined, has edged slowly lower this year.
  • The black market rate from informal dollar trades has diverged sharply from the official spot, with the gap now close to 40pc and at levels not seen since the end of 2015.

NEW YORK: Argentina's peso, one of the worst-performing global currencies over the past two years, is now in an unusual position: outperforming Latin American peers as capital controls artificially inoculate it against the coronavirus pandemic.

The currency, which lost around three-quarters of its value against the dollar in 2018, and 2019, combined, has edged slowly lower this year. But is has avoided the sharp drops suffered by the Mexican and Chilean pesos, which have hit historic lows.

The seeming out-performance, however, masks a bubbling tension in the Argentine peso, reliant on controls imposed late last year to stop a dangerous slide on reserves, leaving the currency's official valuation out of whack with reality.

The black market rate from informal dollar trades has diverged sharply from the official spot, with the gap now close to 40pc and at levels not seen since the end of 2015, under populist former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

That could spell trouble ahead.

"When the differential grows, prices and inflation are less determined by the official rate and more by the black market," said Armando Armenta, analyst for Latin America fixed-income and currency markets at AllianceBernstein. "With a bigger differential the government's goal to keep inflation at bay without having to burn through reserves can get to a point where it doesn't work."

Argentine currency controls include a 30pc tariff on exchanging pesos to dollars and overseas card spending from Argentine accounts, which makes the official exchange route more expensive than it looks.