Business & Economy

Argentina presents newly designed currency

Buenos Aires, May 23 (EFE).- Argentina’s government announced Monday it would redesign the country’s currency, among the most devalued in the world and an “instrument of economic policy” President Alberto Fernandez said he does not intend to renounce.

The new peso notes, which would enter into circulation only within six months, will incorporate in their design historical heroes and heroines in place of the local animal species that had been incorporated in 2016.

The new banknotes will feature the faces of independence heroes including Jose de San Martin, Manuel Belgrano, Martin Miguel de Guemes, Juana Azurduy and Maria Remedios del Valle, and also that of Maria Eva Duarte de Peron, “Evita,” second wife of three-time Argentinian President Juan Domingo Peron.

“The currency is a great instrument so that every day we remember who made the homeland in which we live, who gave everything for the homeland in which we live, great, significant men and women that we cannot forget,” Fernandez said at the presentation of the new currency bills.

No new denominations will be introduced with the new bills, which will circulate alongside the existing notes, whose maximum value is 1,000 pesos ($8).

The currency redesign has been questioned by economists and opponents due to the cost of printing the new bills and the fact that larger denomination banknotes have not been incorporated in the midst of a sharp depreciation of the Argentine peso in recent years.

“The currency is, above all, also a symbol of sovereignty and is an instrument of economic policy that we will never renounce,” said Fernandez, whose government is opposed to the adoption of, as the country’s currency, the United States dollar, which has traditionally been an instrument of refuge in Argentina.

On Jan. 1, 1992, the new peso replaced the austral, itself adopted in 1985 as a substitute for the old Argentine peso in an earlier attempt to bring inflation under control.

The peso was maintained at parity with the dollar until Jan. 6, 2002, when Argentina’s Congress repealed the law establishing one-to-one convertibility with the US currency.

The passage of time and recurrent crises in the South American country has led the peso to depreciate sharply to currently stand at less than half a US cent.

The peso’s devaluation eventually forced the Central Bank to incorporate larger denomination banknotes.

In June 2016, the 500 peso note entered circulation and in December 2017, the 1,000 peso bill, then equivalent to $55 and only worth $4.8 in the black market today.

According to the currency watchlist published weekly by US economist Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University, the Argentine peso, with a depreciation of 62.16 percent since early 2020, is the sixth most devalued currency in the world in relation to the US dollar, behind the currencies of Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Sudan and Syria. EFE


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