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Blue Dollars

Officially, They’re Illegal, Yet There’s an Official Rate

Officially, They’re Illegal, Yet There’s an Official Rate

If you go to Argentina, you can pay one dollar to get 9.07 pesos. Alternatively, you can also pay one dollar to get 13 pesos. Now which rate would you prefer? When you go to the bank, you’ll be offered the 9.07 peso rate. But if you go to certain money changers on Calle Florida and wave a few crisp, new Benjamins (that’s $100 notes) at them, you might possibly get the 13 peso rate.

Last week, the Argentinian government went after several “blue dollar” traders and announced hefty fines against firms involved in the exchanges.

And yet, each day, one could find the official and the blue dollar rate published on the Buenos Aires Herald website. If trading at the blue dollar rate is illegal, why does the government condone promulgation of the rates? It’s as if the DEA published today’s rate for opium, crack cocaine, and heroine as a means of assisting drug dealers standardize their rates.

I am following the issue closely, because I am not averse to getting blue dollars at the black market rate, providing I could do so safely. I will ask around at my hotel when I get there.