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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MEXICO CITY — Huge lamps swing from the ceiling on the sixth floor of a building in downtown Mexico City, illuminating the wrestling ring below. The crowd holds its collective breath as a woman emerges from the shadows. Her bright blue hair whirls behind her sparkling makeup as she kicks out her knee-high black boots. A deep voice booms over the loudspeaker:

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