Argentina loosens currency change rules to fight informal exchanges

Source: Daily Mail UK
By: Luc Cohen

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Argentina will ease regulations on opening and operating currency exchange businesses, the central bank said on Thursday, making it easier for tourists to buy pesos at hotels, restaurants and banks.

The measures are yet another blow to informal money changers who have experienced falling demand for their services under President Mauricio Macri.

Informal currency exchange proliferated in Argentina under former populist President Cristina Fernandez, whose currency controls drove local demand for U.S. dollars. Tourists could change their home currency informally at the more favorable unofficial "blue" rate than at banks or formal exchange houses.

So-called "arbolitos" - "little trees," owing to the dollar's green color - still line the corners and storefronts of Buenos Aires' touristy Florida street offering "cambio" to visitors and locals alike willing to risk an occasional counterfeit bill.

But the incentive to change money informally has fallen since Macri allowed the peso to float shortly after taking office in December, nearly closing the gap between the official and "blue" exchange rates.


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