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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Dollar tourism?: in Bolivia they assure that citizens change their bills in Argentina

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Bolivia is experiencing a reserve crisis and the runs on the dollar are one more movement that citizens make to go towards hard currency when there is uncertainty. Although this is common in Argentina, Bolivia is experiencing it for the first time. Now, from the high spheres of the government of Luis Arce, they assure that there is a “dollar tourism” between Argentina and Bolivia to exchange those dollars at the informal Argentine exchange rate, the well-known “blue dollar”.

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This week, the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE) assured that the departure of the dollar from Bolivia to Argentina or other countries is not new, since that currency is more valued in other regions of the continent; while in Bolivia it is weak.

Gary Rodríguez, manager of the IBCE, in the newspaper La Razón Digital of Bolivia, considers that in In the country, the Bolivian peso is strengthened in comparison to the dollar as a result of the policy of keeping the exchange rate stable. “That the dollars are going to Argentina is nothing new,” he told radio Fides.

“It is obvious that if the official dollar (in Argentina) is at one level and the blue dollar is double, it is a very desirable market for dollars from here to bring imported and smuggled products.”

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Rodríguez justified his statement, assuring that, by having an exchange rate anchored for more than 10 years, the Bolivian gained strength and the dollar weakened.

“When there is a currency that is strong like ours and the dollar is weak and there is another country where that dollar has a higher price, of course it will tend to go to that place”he explained.

Shopping tourism with the dollar

According to Rodríguez, in the neighboring country the phenomenon of “shopping tourism” is taking place with the dollars that leave the country. That is, people who travel to do business or buy products that they later bring into the country, legally or illegally, to sell.

“Today shopping tourism is taking place again, many years ago people would leave on a Friday and return on a Sunday and bring merchandise. The same thing is happening, but we must add that in Argentina there is not only one exchange rate, there are two. It is a good business to take the dollar to Argentina and exchange it for the blue dollar, which is double the official one,” he said. “These products are brought into the country via import, as luggage or as contraband”according to the IBCE manager.

For two weeks, at the headquarters of the central bank in the center of La Paz many people queue and sleep on the street in order to be the first to be served and buy dollars, since the private banking entities where they have their savings do not have enough of the North American bill to deliver to all savers. Most of them say that they have to travel to other countries where the Bolivian currency is useless..

Some are merchants who need to buy products abroad. others have to repay debts in dollars, and finally there are several “scared” by the crisis who want to exchange their bolivian pesos for a safer currency.

Source: Ambito

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