Thread: Argentine Economy

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  1. #1915
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhskiier  [View Original Post]
    Plus bureaucratic and legal issues. I looked at taking a stake in a business down there about a year after Macri came in. Small deal, nothing like a forex play, but oh boy the fuckery. Lets just say the accounting was ... Artistic, and not because they were bad guys, but hiding money and greasing skids are accepted parts of competition.

    I still dig around while I'm there, if only to make the trip a write off and get plugged into the city. But anything that matters involves significant inside baseball and most official interactions are an adaptation of "Esprando a Godot." Sorry Argentina, I'm not sophisticated enough to price that sort of risk.

    That said, there are still strong underlying strengths, and by underlying, I mean deep in the bucket. Highest regional broadband penetration, a relatively educated population, a ton of unexploited minerals, oil, and gas. 50% of the country doesn't have a bank account, Still the most culturally significant country in South America. How they unlock all that I have no idea.
    Broadband is nice, but not the great equalizer it was promised to be.

    As for natural resources, Brazil owns most of Argentina's.

  2. #1914
    Senior Member


    Posts: 1042
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhskiier  [View Original Post]
    That said, there are still strong underlying strengths, and by underlying, I mean deep in the bucket. Highest regional broadband penetration, a relatively educated population, a ton of unexploited minerals, oil, and gas. 50% of the country doesn't have a bank account, Still the most culturally significant country in South America. How they unlock all that I have no idea.
    Except broadband, I think thatís been the issue with Argentina for the last 100 years.

  3. #1913
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhskiier  [View Original Post]
    Plus bureaucratic and legal issues. I looked at taking a stake in a business down there about a year after Macri came in. Small deal, nothing like a forex play, but oh boy the fuckery. Lets just say the accounting was ... Artistic, and not because they were bad guys, but hiding money and greasing skids are accepted parts of competition.

    I still dig around while I'm there, if only to make the trip a write off and get plugged into the city. But anything that matters involves significant inside baseball and most official interactions are an adaptation of "Esprando a Godot." Sorry Argentina, I'm not sophisticated enough to price that sort of risk.

    That said, there are still strong underlying strengths, and by underlying, I mean deep in the bucket. Highest regional broadband penetration, a relatively educated population, a ton of unexploited minerals, oil, and gas. 50% of the country doesn't have a bank account, Still the most culturally significant country in South America. How they unlock all that I have no idea.
    Let me know when you are going back to Bs As. Maybe we should meet up.

    I bought and sold a company in Argentina in the late '00s. My local lawyers and accountants were excellent. We made a ton of money. I have looked at acquiring several businesses in Argentina, since Macri was elected, but I have a very strict discipline when evaluating ops. I think that this currency blow up is part of what I have been waiting for.

  4. #1912
    Quote Originally Posted by WildWalleye  [View Original Post]
    ...and in order for things to "normalize" the devaluation of the peso needs to exceed inflation...
    Quote Originally Posted by WildWalleye  [View Original Post]
    Personally, I prefer Argentinian women to Brazilian women. I really like the old world feel of Bs As, the wine, the food and the culture. I'd be willing to pay a premium for those things.

    Despite the IMF life-line, things (from a currency perspective) are going to get worse in Argentina, before they get better. Additionally, as previously discussed, despite currency devaluation, the inflation of prices has offset much of the devaluations, therefore, things haven't actually become much cheaper. That means that the scales haven't been tipped in favor of the foreign investor (something that needs to happen in order to entice foreign investment).
    Plus bureaucratic and legal issues. I looked at taking a stake in a business down there about a year after Macri came in. Small deal, nothing like a forex play, but oh boy the fuckery. Lets just say the accounting was ... Artistic, and not because they were bad guys, but hiding money and greasing skids are accepted parts of competition.

    I still dig around while I'm there, if only to make the trip a write off and get plugged into the city. But anything that matters involves significant inside baseball and most official interactions are an adaptation of "Esprando a Godot." Sorry Argentina, I'm not sophisticated enough to price that sort of risk.

    That said, there are still strong underlying strengths, and by underlying, I mean deep in the bucket. Highest regional broadband penetration, a relatively educated population, a ton of unexploited minerals, oil, and gas. 50% of the country doesn't have a bank account, Still the most culturally significant country in South America. How they unlock all that I have no idea.

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  6. #1911
    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMorgan  [View Original Post]
    If inflation is outpacing the peso...that is one xxxxload of inflation. Ouch.
    ...and in order for things to "normalize" the devaluation of the peso needs to exceed inflation...

  7. #1910
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    Thanks for your detailed input. It was an informative read.

    Yes, I was aware that there is an enormous amount of speculation in currency markets. But, I am grateful that my econ professor told me long ago, that I couldn't speculate on those things. Otherwise, I would have tried to do it at some point. As a result, I would have most certainly lost money like I have with any purely speculative investment I have attempted.

    So, from the sound of things it, the situation will need to get much worse before young women are selling their bodies at discount prices, due to the lack of income or employment opportunities. But, Brazil is appearing to have a bit of a currency crisis, too. Maybe the pickings will be better there?
    Personally, I prefer Argentinian women to Brazilian women. I really like the old world feel of Bs As, the wine, the food and the culture. I'd be willing to pay a premium for those things.

    However, I suspect that most of the developing economies, that are not currently rocking and rolling (from an economic perspective), are going to face an uphill battle, over the next six months and for the foreseeable future. The US Fed will raise rates at least another two times, this year. That probably means another .50% on the Fed Funds Rate. That will continue the "capital flight" mentioned in my previous post.

    Despite the IMF life-line, things (from a currency perspective) are going to get worse in Argentina, before they get better. Additionally, as previously discussed, despite currency devaluation, the inflation of prices has offset much of the devaluations, therefore, things haven't actually become much cheaper. That means that the scales haven't been tipped in favor of the foreign investor (something that needs to happen in order to entice foreign investment).

    Argentina is going to have to take some bitter medicine in order to break the cycle and turn the corner...a corner it had sort of turned with the election of Macri, but truncated by the moods of the markets (and Fed Rate hikes). However, these things take time and patience, two things voters tend to lack. If things go poorly, the Argies will fall back on electing Peronistas and the whole cycle will begin again. The biggest problem with that repugnant form of governance is the economic isolation that it comes with it. The IMF loan will be the last foreign money Argentina sees for the foreseeable future, if it starts to move back towards the Peronistas.

    If the country falls back on old populist handout politics, the country will be plunged into an economic decline that will make 2001 look like a cakewalk. Conversely, if the country takes its medicine (eliminate many entitlements and what is effectively an economy-wide write-down of many assets and service in the country via further erosion to the peso) it will be able to begin anew climbing up the slope of economic recovery.

    From AP and the local foros, I believe that thing are starting to get less expensive in Argentina, including chicas. However, prices still have a long way to go. IN 2007, I started spending a lot of time in Bs As. An hour romp at 1707 Ste Fe was $39. A similar romp, today is about $52. So, we'll need to see about a 24% drop in prices (AR$33:1USD) to get to back to what I consider the good ole days. The old timers here knew it when it was much better than that.

  8. #1909
    Quote Originally Posted by WildWalleye  [View Original Post]
    With all due respect, it's a good thing that your econ professor wasn't a currency trader.

    I hope you don't mind, if I chime in with a few personal observations.

    There is a huge global currency spot and futures market based, in large part, upon speculation.
    Thanks for your detailed input. It was an informative read.

    Yes, I was aware that there is an enormous amount of speculation in currency markets. But, I am grateful that my econ professor told me long ago, that I couldn't speculate on those things. Otherwise, I would have tried to do it at some point. As a result, I would have most certainly lost money like I have with any purely speculative investment I have attempted.

    So, from the sound of things it, the situation will need to get much worse before young women are selling their bodies at discount prices, due to the lack of income or employment opportunities. But, Brazil is appearing to have a bit of a currency crisis, too. Maybe the pickings will be better there?

  9. #1908

    Inflation and the peso....

    If inflation is outpacing the peso...that is one xxxxload of inflation. Ouch.

  10. #1907
    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMorgan  [View Original Post]
    I have a question. Have prices in Argentina shot up as the currency has crumbled? Have you guys on the ground really benefited by this drop? It seems as if you have received a windfall. I am happy for you!!!
    Inflation seems to be out pacing the decline of the peso. Most things are cheaper in the states where you are at least earning dollars and not pesos.

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  12. #1906

    Argentine Cost of Living

    I have a question. Have prices in Argentina shot up as the currency has crumbled? Have you guys on the ground really benefited by this drop? It seems as if you have received a windfall. I am happy for you!!!

  13. #1905

    Very Disappointed in Myself !

    Quote Originally Posted by Gandolf50  [View Original Post]
    LOL..... Argie land is rapidly approaching 30 to 1 !
    Very Disappointed in Myself !

    Sold a few items for $75,000.00 and I thought it was 21 to 1 !

    Lost a little cash I guess.

    TL.

    Anybody need Pesos ? I can help you .

  14. #1904
    Quote Originally Posted by WildWalleye  [View Original Post]
    With all due respect, it's a good thing that your econ professor wasn't a currency trader.

    I hope you don't mind, if I chime in with a few personal observations.

    There is a huge global currency spot and futures market based, in large part, upon speculation.

    Most currency speculation is based upon the expectation that certain future events will impact the (rather complex) equation, expressing equilibrium between the two currencies in question. That said the biggest single component of interest rate differentials is usually the relative interest rates, offered by the respective central banks. Most of the rest of the calculus is the art of estimating risk (sovereign risk, country risk, etc.). There are lots of rocket scientists who focus on far more esoteric elements of the equation and more complex transactions (like crosses of three or more currencies), but the basics are: you bet on expected interest rate differentials and events that will impact the risk equilibrium.

    The period you cited, when the peso dropped to about 15:1 was when the currency controls came off. Argentina severely limited access to FOREX 2011-2015. I tracked the official and unofficial rates (blue rate) daily, throughout the entire period. I am simplifying events and roughly approximating the ratios from memory. So, please forgive the imprecision. The free-floating peso didn't trade at 13:1 for long (minutes?). It went from about 9:1 (official rate) to 15:1 (free-floating) almost overnight. The set govt rate was under 10:1, and the blue rate (unofficial black market rate) was maybe 13:1. We were looking at a large FOREX play involving Argentina (probably the only group looking to get into, as opposed to out of, Argentina at the time, during the currency controls). I arrived at 16:1 as our "safe case." When the controls came off in 2015, the rate immediately went to 15:1 and stayed there, plenty long enough for us to unwind the position in the open market.

    Right now, Argentina faces an uphill climb, after doing so well for nearly two years, making the economy more attractive to foreign capital. They are caught in several large and powerful currents.

    The biggest monkey wrench has been that the US Fed tightening is drawing money away from Argentina (and most developing economies). During periods of increasing US rates, the risk/reward pendulum usually swings away from developing economies. While the ROI on US govt securities sucks, all US debt securities are essentially priced off of those underlying rates (and LIBOR). Therefore, a 50 basis point (or .5%) uptick in Fed rates will get priced in across the entire spectrum of dollar-based debt securities, thereby offering higher returns at a wide variety of risk profiles. That draws money into the US dollar and out of foreign currencies, starting with those of developing economies. Therefore, the declining supply increases the cost FOREX to Argentina.

    The next problem (a recurring nightmare for Argentina) is Argentina's economy, and in particular, its unsustainable domestic spending. Argentina, which was already addicted to handouts, went nuts under the Kirchner reign of terror increasing handouts to unsustainable levels. Given Argentina's legendary history of populism, the guy who pulls the plug on handouts runs the risk of quickly becoming unpopular. Unsustainable spending by a govt that has limited reserves and a checkered history in the international debt markets, raises the specter that they might have some future difficulties. Therefore, the risk to holders of Argentine debt rises. Investors demand higher returns for increased risk. Therefore, the cost of capital rises.

    1) Risk = Cost.

    2) If risk rises, so too must the compensation to the investor.

    3) Therefore, interest rates must rise in order to attract capital.

    However, rising interest rates increase inflation. Inflation increases risk.

    1) Risk = Cost.

    2) If risk rises, so too must the compensation to the investor.

    3) Therefore, interest rates must rise in order to attract capital.

    Lather, rinse, repeat...

    Despite the forgoing, things in Argentina arent really cheap. Unfortunately, I believe that things are going to have to get cheap in Argentina in order to break the cycle. If the govt severely cuts back domestic spending and the currency goes to something like 30:1, it might do the trick. However, I doubt the govt will have the sack to do it. Therefore, the currency will need to sink further in order to compensate for that.
    LOL..... Argie land is rapidly approaching 30 to 1 !

  15. #1903
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    Well, if you have to ask how to do it, then you shouldn't even think about trying. Hopefully you didn't, but if you had taken Felix's advice you have been f*cked from the beginning. On the date that you made this post, just shy of two years ago, the exchange rate was just shy of 13.7 ARS per US$. A week later, it was 15.2 to the USD. Today its closed at 23.

    The lesson? Well, as my economics professor told me back in 1980, you cannot realistically speculate on currency. You just cannot predict the direction of currency fluctuations. There are just too many moving parts. I liked to think it was possible and that my professor was being close minded. But, what did I know? I was a 22 year old student with big ideas and a blank resume of life experiences. In hindsight, he was right back then and he is right today (Thank you, Professor Behnke). Getting past my own education, the thing you must learn is that you must NEVER make a financial decision based on anything you read in the financial media. Its a good way to lose money that could better be spent on sex. If I can given any novice investor any advice, it would be to ignore investment advice by the touts in the financial media.
    With all due respect, it's a good thing that your econ professor wasn't a currency trader.

    I hope you don't mind, if I chime in with a few personal observations.

    There is a huge global currency spot and futures market based, in large part, upon speculation.

    Most currency speculation is based upon the expectation that certain future events will impact the (rather complex) equation, expressing equilibrium between the two currencies in question. That said the biggest single component of interest rate differentials is usually the relative interest rates, offered by the respective central banks. Most of the rest of the calculus is the art of estimating risk (sovereign risk, country risk, etc.). There are lots of rocket scientists who focus on far more esoteric elements of the equation and more complex transactions (like crosses of three or more currencies), but the basics are: you bet on expected interest rate differentials and events that will impact the risk equilibrium.

    The period you cited, when the peso dropped to about 15:1 was when the currency controls came off. Argentina severely limited access to FOREX 2011-2015. I tracked the official and unofficial rates (blue rate) daily, throughout the entire period. I am simplifying events and roughly approximating the ratios from memory. So, please forgive the imprecision. The free-floating peso didn't trade at 13:1 for long (minutes?). It went from about 9:1 (official rate) to 15:1 (free-floating) almost overnight. The set govt rate was under 10:1, and the blue rate (unofficial black market rate) was maybe 13:1. We were looking at a large FOREX play involving Argentina (probably the only group looking to get into, as opposed to out of, Argentina at the time, during the currency controls). I arrived at 16:1 as our "safe case." When the controls came off in 2015, the rate immediately went to 15:1 and stayed there, plenty long enough for us to unwind the position in the open market.

    Right now, Argentina faces an uphill climb, after doing so well for nearly two years, making the economy more attractive to foreign capital. They are caught in several large and powerful currents.

    The biggest monkey wrench has been that the US Fed tightening is drawing money away from Argentina (and most developing economies). During periods of increasing US rates, the risk/reward pendulum usually swings away from developing economies. While the ROI on US govt securities sucks, all US debt securities are essentially priced off of those underlying rates (and LIBOR). Therefore, a 50 basis point (or .5%) uptick in Fed rates will get priced in across the entire spectrum of dollar-based debt securities, thereby offering higher returns at a wide variety of risk profiles. That draws money into the US dollar and out of foreign currencies, starting with those of developing economies. Therefore, the declining supply increases the cost FOREX to Argentina.

    The next problem (a recurring nightmare for Argentina) is Argentina's economy, and in particular, its unsustainable domestic spending. Argentina, which was already addicted to handouts, went nuts under the Kirchner reign of terror increasing handouts to unsustainable levels. Given Argentina's legendary history of populism, the guy who pulls the plug on handouts runs the risk of quickly becoming unpopular. Unsustainable spending by a govt that has limited reserves and a checkered history in the international debt markets, raises the specter that they might have some future difficulties. Therefore, the risk to holders of Argentine debt rises. Investors demand higher returns for increased risk. Therefore, the cost of capital rises.

    1) Risk = Cost.

    2) If risk rises, so too must the compensation to the investor.

    3) Therefore, interest rates must rise in order to attract capital.

    However, rising interest rates increase inflation. Inflation increases risk.

    1) Risk = Cost.

    2) If risk rises, so too must the compensation to the investor.

    3) Therefore, interest rates must rise in order to attract capital.

    Lather, rinse, repeat...

    Despite the forgoing, things in Argentina arent really cheap. Unfortunately, I believe that things are going to have to get cheap in Argentina in order to break the cycle. If the govt severely cuts back domestic spending and the currency goes to something like 30:1, it might do the trick. However, I doubt the govt will have the sack to do it. Therefore, the currency will need to sink further in order to compensate for that.

  16. #1902
    Quote Originally Posted by Local  [View Original Post]
    What the chart shows is that we are not yet anywhere near the days of cheap Argentine prices (P4P included) that we had in 2002-2005, for example.
    Also, unemployment (another major driver of good P4P prices) is relatively stable at 8%, high by current USA levels, but actually good for the local record over past years.
    Bottom line: the crisis, if there is actually one, needs to get much deeper if we are going to see chica prices going into the bargain zone.
    Thanks for your input. Being old enough to recall double digit inflation in the US during the late 70's, I understand how it compounds over a modest amount of time.

    While not on my immediate list of places to visit, BA has a reputation for some of the finest working girls in LA, but also the most expensive. Of course, it seems Argentina is always undergoing some financial crisis. This latest one probably is not the worst or will it be the last.

  17. #1901
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    My question to those who travel to Argentina is, how much has inflation impacted P4P prices, and how has the devaluation worked for you? Are we seeing a rare chance for discounted mongerng with the fabled Argentine girls, or are they spiking their prices accordingly?
    The following chart shows the evolution of the real exchange rate Argentine Peso / US Dollar since the last really big crisis (end of 1 Arg Peso = 1 US Dollar currency board at the end of 2001/early 2002). "Real Exchange Rate" means adjusted for both Argentine and USA inflation.

    What the chart shows is that we are not yet anywhere near the days of cheap Argentine prices (P4P included) that we had in 2002-2005, for example.

    Also, unemployment (another major driver of good P4P prices) is relatively stable at 8%, high by current USA levels, but actually good for the local record over past years.

    Bottom line: the crisis, if there is actually one, needs to get much deeper if we are going to see chica prices going into the bargain zone.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Real Exchange Rate.jpg‎  

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