22-Jan (Financial Times) — Even as it seeks to regain access to international capital markets, Argentina imposed new restrictions on online shopping on Wednesday in its latest attempt to curb capital flight and prevent a possible balance-of-payments crisis.
Anyone buying goods through international websites such as Amazon.com must now sign a declaration and produce it at a customs office, where the packages are collected. In addition, Argentines are only allowed to buy two international items annually, free of tax, up to a $25 total. Beyond that, they must pay a 50 per cent tax.
…Private estimates put inflation at more than 28 per cent, against the official government rate of 11 per cent. High inflation has also pushed up the value of the black – or “blue” – market exchange rate to almost 12 pesos per dollar, versus the official rate of 6.9.
…Argentina first introduced currency controls a week after Cristina Fernández was re-elected president by a landslide in 2011. Since then it has redoubled efforts to restrict transactions in foreign currency, including a recent 35 per cent tax on credit-card purchases made abroad.
PG View: That’s all pretty brutal. Time for yet another peso devaluation…