Argentina’s Economy: A Brief History
With its wealth of natural resources and fertile land, Argentina enjoyed an abundant beginning to the 19th century and was one of the world’s richest countries only one hundred years ago.
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The dome of gallery Güemes, where writer, Julio Cortázar used to go look for prostitutes as a teen. 😯 https://wander-argentina.com/florida-st-—galeria-guemes-through-the-years/ #buenosaires #architecture #argentinaliterature #juliocortazar #floridastreet #calleflorida #buenosairesarchitecture #neoclassicalarchitecture #domearchitecture #Cúpula #historicbuilding #wanderargentina
Through the years, a chaotic political landscape, corruption, and free-for-all privatization in the 80s and 90s has wreaked havoc on the economy since the golden days (or in Argentina’s case, the silver days).
Since the 2001 economic crisis and resulting devaluation of the peso, visitors looking to get mileage for their moolah have been flocking to Argentina, although tourism has waxed and waned this century.
The country’s economic situation stabilized somewhat for citizens the decade after the crisis, as employment increased and poverty rates fell, but Argentina is a constant roller coaster ride and the future is always uncertain.
As with many places around the world, stagnant wages, rampant inflation and the resulting austerity efforts mean poverty is on the rise again.
Argentina is considered an affordable destination for travelers, but the 2002-2007 years of eight dollar steak and Malbec dinners have faded into the background but may be soon on the horizon again.
(Quality wine is always affordable in Argentina, so that’s one reason to toast!)
* this post is updated to reflect the return of currency controls put in place beginning in September, 2019
Blue Dollar Back Again! — Current Exchange Rates
For several years, under the government of Cristina Kirchner from 2011 until January 2016, Argentina had strict currency restrictions in place, which created a huge black market for dollars.
One of Mauricio Macri’s first moves as president in 2016 was to regularize the flow of currency so that the black market for currency was largely diminished.
Things get confusing for those with old guidebooks because, while the currency situation was normalized for several years, now due to rampant capital flight and dwindling foreign exchange reserves currency controls were reinstated in September, 2019.
In Buenos Aires the official bank exchange rate is now lower than the black market rate once again.
Today, the black market (or so-called ‘blue dollar’) for foreign currency has not yet reached the 40% spread of 2015 but travelers will find they can get a few more pesos per dollar (the percentage is currently fluctuating between 3—14%) by exchanging cash on the black market.
So today the situation is that travelers can save money if they come to Argentina with US dollars.
Outside of Buenos Aires, travelers may find they can even get more pesos in exchange for their dollars.
Carrying USD or Euros is also a good way to avoid steep atm fees which run about US$10 per withdrawal in Argentina, for any amount.
Another way to access money, avoid bank fees and get a better rate than at the bank is to utilize a money exchange service such as XOOM. (Check the rate here and use this link to get $25 free if you transfer more than $50)
For those who have an Argentine bank account Transferwise may be another option.
Travelers are legally permitted to enter Argentina with US$-10,000 without declaring it.
In Argentina, both the official and bank market rates fluctuate, so check this currency converter to see the official rate before planning your trip.
To see the black market rate, check a daily newspaper in Argentina — most have all the exchange rates listed on the front page.