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Dollar Drama in Argentina: Milei’s Bold Statements and the Business Community’s Skepticism

As Argentina gears up for its presidential elections, financial eyes are locked on the Argentine peso, which is experiencing quite a roller coaster. The trigger? None other than the leading presidential candidate, Javier Milei.

Milei, known for his libertarian stance, surprised many when he passionately spoke of his vision to dollarize the Argentine economy and bid adieu to the peso. He didn’t mince words, saying, “The peso, a currency emitted by Argentine politicians, can’t possibly be of value, given that those politicians don’t even benefit the soil as fertilizers.” Following this statement, the peso took a significant dip, plummeting 10% in the free-floating black market to a new record low against the US dollar. Interestingly, this stands in stark contrast to the official exchange rate which has remained steady at 365 pesos per dollar since the summer.

While the buzz around the elections and Milei’s lead in the polls has kept the debate alive, the business community remains hesitant about his radical approach. A recent survey from the Mar del Plata corporate summit revealed that the majority of business leaders are not in favor of completely abandoning the peso for the US dollar. Out of 125 business aficionados, only two showed enthusiasm for full dollarization.

The underlying concern? Losing monetary autonomy. If Argentina were to depend solely on the US dollar, the nation would inadvertently place its monetary reigns in the hands of the US Federal Reserve. In the same survey, a significant 80% leaned towards Patricia Bullrich, Milei’s main rival in the race. Bullrich’s proposal seemed more balanced to them, advocating for a taste of dollarization but without completely sidelining the peso.

At the heart of this debate lies Argentina’s economic strife. With an inflation rate touching 134% and exorbitant interest rates of 118%, it’s no wonder that many Argentines are starting to embrace the US dollar. Some businesses are even taking the leap to partially compensate their employees with the coveted greenback.

As the election looms, entrepreneurs and investors will be watching closely. The question remains: Will Argentina choose a complete switch to the dollar, or will it find a middle ground to stabilize its financial future? Only time will tell.