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Local travel tickets purchased with cash pesos


Mar 23rd, 2013, 06:15 AM
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Local travel tickets purchased with cash pesos

Argentina’s exchange controls have generated an “informal” dollar/peso market in which the dollar, as most readers probably know, trades at a significant premium to the government’s official rate. You can check this rate here: http://www.ambito.com/economia/mercados/monedas/dolar/

As of yesterday, the dollar commanded in this market a premium of nearly 70%. As is usually the case, excessive government intervention can cause problems, but it can also generate opportunities.

If a foreign tourist buys a plane or bus ticket for travel within Argentina with his credit card, he/she will be charged for the corresponding amount in pesos converted into his currency at the official rate. In fact, this tourist is, in a way, selling his currency at the official rate. This is also the case with any expenses paid locally with a credit card by said tourist.

But, going one step further, what if this tourist brings cash dollars (or his currency, but preferably dollars) to Argentina, changes them in the “informal” market and buys here in pesos all the tickets needed for travel within our country?

It would obviously seem that significant savings could be obtained. I’ll confirm with my travel agent on Monday that this would work, but I’m pretty sure it does.

On the other hand, you have the risk of carrying cash and the possibility of the travel dates you need not being available.

But if you don’t mind carrying cash, travel in the low season, have a flexible schedule and saving money on local flights and/or buses is an important consideration for you, perhaps you should consider this alternative.

Have a great time in our country.
avrooster is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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That is, as usual, excellent advice - AvRooster. Thank you from all of us who benefit from your wisdom and experience.
MarnieWDC is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Thank you, Marnie!

I thought no one was interested in saving money!
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Mar 25th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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In the few posts I have read on the subject, "informal" seems the preferred description for the historic label "black market."
I suppose the government would bridle at the thought of returning to the bad old days, although changing cash under the table is a symptom, not a cause, of financial difficulties.
Is informal exchange conducted by shadowy figures lurking around the plaza? Or will it more likely show up at private transactions -- a landlord asking for pay in US dollars, for instance, or a merchant processing a discount for cash?
While I live in a country with stable currency (for now) it certainly is common enough for a contractor here to take cash pay for repairs on someone's house and not add on the government sales tax. Private enterprise in action!
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