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As Peso Plummets, Argentine Banks Want Bigger Banknotes

Lining up at a Buenos Aires bank
Lining up at a Buenos Aires bank

BUENOS AIRESInflation has become a palpable reality in Argentina, as citizens face regular hikes in consumer, energy and transport prices. The 100-peso bill is now worth a quarter what it was in 2007, and several banks have suggested to the Central Bank that it start printing notes in larger denominations.

Currently, 100 pesos are trading around $12, down from a little over $14 in January and roughly $19 a year ago.

Petty change — Photo: Jorge Gobbi

The presidential office has apparently ruled that out already, as the move would be a public recognition of inflation’s gravity. Banks are finding it increasingly costly to use larger numbers of banknotes for the same banking operations. Cash dispensers, for example, have had to be stuffed with more notes, and the cost of printing five 100-peso bills is higher than the cost of printing a single 500-peso bill.

The 100-peso note now has the purchasing power of about 27 pesos. But a recent poll shows that only 42% of Argentines favor printing more notes of larger denominations.

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