I heard Argentina elected some crazy dude to be president

I heard he was crazy

He “plays” a crazy person on the TV.

I don’t think he is Trump-level crazy, but from what I have heard from a few people is that this was an “anti-peronist” vote, rather than a “pro-milei” vote.

People on the ground got fed up with the same folks failing again and again and again (quite a few of them have emigrated to Spain over time).

So they have opted to pull the other lever this time around.

His economic views are certifiable, but that was for the primaries. He then tacked furiously to the center in the elections, so it stands to reason his actual policies wont be so crazy.

The thing about Argentina is that it has great natural wealth, it is just incompetently run.

I would just add that El Loco’s party has small representation in both Argentinian Houses. This may act as a check on his plans.

Argentina's Milei says shutting central bank 'non-negotiable' | Reuters?

If Argentina adopts the US dollar as its official currency he may feel there is a diminished need for its own central bank?

Some other countries in financial straits have accepted the US dollar as their de facto currency and that is not always a bad idea. Argentina could be a very prosperous nation again if it could get its act together. It had a higher per capita income than Canada 100 years ago.

countries i know that have pegged local currency to US are really small. like islands with <100K residents but thriving a insurance industry presence! i could google who is pegged…

and here we are.

ecuador and el salvador are big.

eta - i forgot the link

Argentina pegged its peso to the US dollar during an earlier economic crisis. Most countries that peg to the US dollar do it temporarily. Then there is another category of countries where the US dollar is the de facto local currency. I dealt with a lot of those countries when I used to work extensively in developing countries. Always had a stash of US dollars in my pocket when visiting.

Resurrecting this thread because I am tracking the Argentinean situation.

I have never seen spending cuts and financial realignment done on this scale before (in a country as large as Argentina).

We are talking reaching a primary surplus in ONE year after decades of money printing and large scale subsidies.

I give this a 50% chance of ending horrifically badly for the country. Ideally, this should have been done over 5 years so that the country can cope with the changes.

IMF to release $4.7bn to Argentina as Javier Milei pursues austerity - IMF to release $4.7bn to Argentina as Javier Milei pursues austerity   via @FT

In general, I believe that all economic decisions should be implemented over a substantial period of time. Mainly, because rich people (and their advisors) know how to exploit shocks.

211.4% annualised inflation in December!

Prices have been kept artificially low by subsidies and money printing has devalued the Peso to a ridiculous extent. Could get even worse than the 211% over the next few months.

Argentina’s annual inflation tops 200% as Javier Milei confronts crisis - Argentina’s annual inflation tops 200% as Javier Milei confronts crisis via @FT

Time to get me one of them soon-to-arrive 10,000 peso notes

On 11 January 2024, the Central Bank announced that it would issue 10,000-peso and 20,000-peso notes by June 2024

Oh man actually it’s gonna go up to 20k. I can wait.

Sounds like a good time for an Argentinian holiday. Dollars will go far there right now and the weather is great this time of year.

I floated that to my wife (had to cancel a visit due to pandemic) but she told me that crime is a big problem now.

This is in BA. Could be a bit better outside the capital.

There is certainly much to enjoy outside of BA.

My Toronto-based investment advisor spends his winters in BA (his Argentinian wife has a condo there) and he has had no crime problems but takes appropriate precautions. Like a lot of other places you need to be savvy about street crime there. My wife and I had no problems when we last visited but I understand it has gotten worse.

I have always wanted to visit Antarctica: the South Pole is currently warmer than Alberta….

Just updating this thread. This is turning into a fascinating case study on how to restructure an economy within a short time-span.

Seems that there are indeed some brains behind the persona he plays on the TV.

He has accomplished a primary surplus already by doing two things:

  1. Not uprating public pensions by inflation
  2. Not uprating social benefits by inflation
  3. But he increased food stamps and child benefit

As Actuaries who have been railing about the cost of public pensions on the taxpayer for years, he seems to be part of that camp. I suspect he is being advised by someone from the US on this as he seems really well prepared in terms to legislation and process steps. They have clearly planned this out.

Gift link below:

Argentina’s Javier Milei says he doesn’t need congress to save the economy - Argentina’s Javier Milei says he doesn’t need congress to save the economy via @FT

Q: How does he get these done without his Congress?
Preguntando para uno amigo.

Executive decisions but with a few caveats.

Not unlike the US.

Argentina has now started circulating a 10,000 Peso note ($15) so people don’t have to pay for things with wheelbarrows of cash.

An interesting bit of anecdotal information:

My sister in law works for Coca-Cola and travels often to Argentina. She tells me that as soon as people receive their paychecks (say on 1st of month) they spend as much as they can of their paycheck on the same day.

This does make rational sense as your money would be worth less even mid-month, but its such a weird way to live. Its interesting how behaviors change around high inflation. Germany in the 1920s operated in the same way.

Sky-high inflation forces Argentina to circulate first 10,000-peso notes - Sky-high inflation forces Argentina to circulate first 10,000-peso notes via @FT