Gated community of Nordelta in Tigre, Buenos Aires Province. (Nordelta)

A June report on “Global Wealth” from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that Latin America had the second highest increase in personal fortunes in 2016 as compared with other world regions. In Argentina, family fortunes grew by more than 10 percent. But for Argentina in particular, such growth does not necessarily signal a net change in its economic reality. A report from the University of Avallaneda found that for the same fiscal year, Argentina had the greatest loss of purchasing power out of any Latin American country.

Argentina’s national increase in personal wealth did not result from the creation of new wealth, but rather from the revaluation of financial assets abroad. “There is a lack of confidence in the country’s financial institutions,” according to Jorge Becerra, senior partner of BCG and co-author of the report. Though the Global Wealth Report has been distributed annually for 17 years, last year was the first to disaggregate the data of Argentina. “Until 2015, the national statistics were not reliable and only from last year we were able to carry out an accurate measurement,” said Becerra. As a result, it may be too soon to attribute the increase to shifts in the internal economic climate.

The new measurements determine that the gap between the richest and poorest families in Argentina has widened. Still, this divide remains slim compared to other Latin American countries. 10 percent of Argentina’s private wealth is concentrated among 106 Argentine families, each of which holds more than US $100 million in liquid assets (not including property). In Colombia, Chile and Peru each, 15 percent of private wealth is concentrated among 100 families. Becerra attributes Argentina’s broader wealth distribution to its significant middle class. The Gini Index, the World Bank’s standard for measuring income inequality, maintains Argentina’s position among Latin America’s most economically equitable countries.