Argentinians have to make cash payments and lose purchasing power

argentinian Alexander Sanchez, 36, owns a company that manages condominiums in Buenos Aires. In addition to doing the accounting part, the company is also responsible for building maintenance and repairs. THE inflation 83% in 12 months has complicated their work. Payments must now be made in cash or, at most, in two installments, because no one knows how much prices will rise even in the short term and loans are difficult to obtain.

“People also can’t save to pay for certain jobs. I have a building with elevators that need major maintenance, 4 million pesos (about 140,000 reais). When the currency was stable, people planned, saved for six months, and repairs were made in the last two months of the period. Now there is no way to do that.

Sánchez points out that, despite the country’s financial crisis, his business has grown. He continues to have lunch at the restaurant from Monday to Friday and goes out to dinner with his family about twice a week.

The businessman says restaurants are busy and he doesn’t see a shortage of produce in supermarkets – contrary to what the president claims. Jair Bolsonaro recently, that there was no meat to buy in the country because of the crisis. Economists interviewed by the report also denied the shortage of products and said there was only heightened concern about it when the former minister Martin Guzman resignedin July.

Sánchez admits, however, that life for lower-class Argentines is becoming increasingly difficult. “Inflation has strongly affected people with low purchasing power. The impression is that the gap between those who have money and those who have not is widening.

Sánchez’s sister, Sofía, 25, feels the crisis more in her daily life. A graduate in administration and working in the financial area of ​​a multinational, she claims that her salary adjustments do not keep up with inflation. Increases are granted every four months and range from 15% to 20%. In the past four months to September, however, inflation in the country was 28.5%.

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“Every month, I lose purchasing power. Then I have to change my habits. In two months, my cats’ food went from 7,000 pesos (R$240) to 11,000 (R$380). Then I started buying a cheaper one.

Sofía Sánchez, in 2018 in Scotland;  international travel has become impossible now, says argentina
Sofía Sánchez, in 2018 in Scotland; international travel has become impossible now, says argentina Photo: Personal archive

As most Argentinians usually do, Sofia used to buy dollars with what was left of her salary to save money. It was around $150 a month. Since April, there is nothing left to save. The increase in rent is one of those that compresses the administrator’s budget. The readjustment in July was 65%, he says. “In recent years, the issue of inflation was already difficult, but now it is more notorious. The highs are more abrupt.

The control of access to the foreign exchange market also changed the customs of Sofía. Foreign travel, which was once commonplace, is over. “In 2018, for example, I was able to go on vacation abroad. This is no longer a possibility. »

Sofía says she doesn’t notice any shortages in the markets. “Maybe there is just a smaller variety of products, but nothing is missing. I remember, before the pandemic, going on vacation to Colombia and realizing that there was more brands than here.

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