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IPFS News Link • Inflation

Argentina's Rampant Inflation, Explained (in One Chart)

•, By Jon Miltimore

He livestreams prices on Facebook daily, but like many merchants in Argentina, he uses chalkboards in his store so he can update prices throughout the day as pesos lose their value.

The New York Timeswhich recently interviewed Capobianco, reported on the inflation that "has convulsed Argentina" and led to the rise of Javier Milei, who last week became Argentina's first libertarian president (and arguably the first libertarian president in the world in modern history).

Prior to Milei's stunning victory, inflation in Argentina hit 143 percent. Triple-digit inflation has helped push 40 percent of Argentines into poverty and has led to a surge in demand for US dollars.

An estimated $200 billion in US currency has gravitated toward Argentina's $487 billion economy, the Times estimates, nearly 10 percent of all US dollars in circulation (more than any other country in the world except for the USA).

The appeal of US dollars in Argentina should come as little surprise. The purchasing power of the peso is depreciating so fast that people continually swap them out for dollars, which are hoarded.

"You're constantly gathering up money quickly in order to buy dollars," a 30-year-old supermarket worker told the newspaper, "because the next day, it's devalued again."

To give you an idea of how hard Argentina's peso has fallen, today a single US dollar purchases 1,000 pesos. In 2019, a dollar bought 48 pesos. In 2011, a dollar could be exchanged for 3.45 pesos.

Ignoring the Elephant

The Times story is solid and worth reading, but its primary focus — beyond the collapse of Argentina's currency — is the dollarization of Argentina's economy.

During his presidential campaign and since his electoral victory, Milei proposed abandoning the peso altogether and embracing the US dollar as Argentina's official currency. The Times argues this would be difficult and would not immediately solve Argentina's economic woes.

Both of these claims are true, but scrapping Argentina's central bank would largely solve one of Argentina's biggest headaches.