國際時事跟讀 Ep.K644: Argentina's Dilemma: The Love for Dollars and the Pesos' Future
In Argentina, the allure of the US dollar is strong, as citizens grapple with rampant inflation exceeding 100% and a relentless devaluation of their local currency, the peso. María Barro, a 65-year-old domestic worker in Buenos Aires, exemplifies this struggle. Each month, she converts her peso salary into dollars as a safeguard against the eroding value of the peso.
However, the fate of the peso now hangs in the balance, as Javier Milei, a libertarian radical, emerges as a formidable contender in the upcoming presidential elections. Milei, who faces stiff competition from both right-wing and left-wing traditional candidates, has made the bold promise of dismantling the central bank and adopting dollarization, making Argentina the largest experiment of its kind in Latin America.
Barro acknowledges the appeal of a dollarized economy but remains undecided about Milei's aggressive approach, marked by frequent expletive-laden outbursts against opponents, including the Pope. The debate over Milei's dollarization proposal has polarized opinions. Supporters argue that it offers a solution to the staggering inflation, while critics view it as impractical, fearing the loss of control over interest rates and money supply.
Juan Napoli, a Senate candidate from Milei's party, Liberty Advances, concedes that Argentina is not yet prepared for full dollarization and suggests a gradual transition over a span of nine months to two years. He underscores the need for political consensus and sufficient reserves.
Dollarization has been attempted in various forms in other countries, with outcomes ranging from success to abandonment. Argentina had a brief experience with dollar pegging in the 1990s, which ultimately ended in crisis and currency devaluation. The nation's potential full-scale dollarization would be a unique and colossal endeavor, given its size and economic significance globally.
Despite the country's challenges, some Argentines remain skeptical of dollarization, fearing dependence on the United States. Recent polls indicate growing opposition to the idea, even as inflation continues to rise.
Milei's rivals, Economy Minister Sergio Massa and conservative ex-security minister Patricia Bullrich, have rejected the notion of dollarization as unworkable. The government's $44 billion loan program with the IMF further complicates economic policy decisions, with dollarization becoming part of the discussion.
米萊伊的競爭對手，經濟部長塞爾希奧·馬薩（Sergio Massa）和保守的前安全部長帕特里夏·布利奇（Patricia Bullrich），均反對美元化的概念，認為不可行。政府與國際貨幣基金組織（IMF）的440億美元貸款計劃進一步複雜化了經濟政策的決策，美元化成為討論的一部分。
For many Argentines, the trauma of past financial crises, such as the "corralitos," where deposits were seized or forcibly converted, has left deep scars and fueled a preference for holding dollars outside the banking system. Consequently, reconnecting these dollars with the formal financial system has become a pressing issue.
In conclusion, Argentina stands at a crossroads as it grapples with the allure of the US dollar amid economic turmoil. Milei's proposal to adopt dollarization, while divisive, offers a potential solution to the nation's longstanding inflation problem. However, the complexities, potential risks, and the deep-seated distrust of the peso make this a contentious issue that will likely continue to dominate Argentina's political landscape for some time to come.
Reference article: https://www.reuters.com/markets/currencies/argentina-dollar-love-affair-agonizes-over-divorcing-peso-2023-09-05/