Starting March 1, buying and selling US dollars in Argentina could be as simple as paying for your groceries at the check-out.
A Central Bank resolution approved yesterday set out that registered businesses can sign up to be part of a recognized network of foreign exchange operators, such as supermarkets and hotels for example could legally buy and sell dollars.
The Central Bank also allowed individuals who are registered to act as buyers and sellers of foreign exchange. “A supermarket, an electronics store, a hotel or any other kind of business could add foreign exchange operations to their main activities, as well as individuals. In that way access to foreign exchange is improved, in particular for foreign tourists.”
Instead of having to head downtown to the financial district to change money or dealing with arbolitos, anyone seeking to trade their dollars or euros for some pesos (or vice versa) will be able to stroll down to the hotel lobby or perhaps get some pesos as they’re paying for their facturas.
The Central Bank has described the change as having the goal of “increasing competition and transparency in the market with the introduction of new and diverse actors as well as simplifying the process.”
The network of foreign exchange operators will be displayed online, with current foreign exchange brokers immediately added to the list of authorized businesses. To sweeten the deal for those brokers, who will now be faced with a likely surge in competition for the attention of those seeking to change mone, they have been authorized by the Central Bank to carry out foreign trade operations and transfer money internationally. Currently the banks have been providing those services for businesses.
The decision by the Central Bank is further to the lifting of currency controls in December 2015 and what it calls as a process of “de-regulation” of the foreign exchange market.