30 de marzo de 2020

About the AR$5 bill in Argentina


[I should have written this a month ago, because with the Covid-19 quarantine the situation changed a lot, and most of this doesn't make sense now. Anyways, this seems to be a story that deserves to be told and I have some free time.] [We are fine for now. Thanks for asking.]

Once upon a time, during February ...

The effective exchange rate of the (US) dollar is approximately AR$80, so according to the estimate in the article on the AR$1 coin, the AR$2 coin should fall into disuse. (Surprisingly, it took less time than expected.)
This is not a strict rule, but it is a custom in Argentina. Recently (January-February), I was already seeing that we started to round the prices to pay to a multiple of AR$5. For example, if we must be pay AR$102, it was likely that no one would demand the AR$2 coin.

We had AR$5 bills and AR$5 coins in circulation, but the bills were old and they recently were taken out of circulation. They can be exchanged in a bank, but they cannot be used in a business.

The problem is that the amount of coins of AR$5 is approximately 1/4 or 1/5 of the amount of bills! So, when the AR$5 bills stop circulating, nobody had enough AR$5 coins.

If there are no coins ...

The solution is then to use the AR$2 coins and even rummage through the drawers and dust off the AR$1 coins that had already practically fallen into disuse. I think I have seen more coins of AR$1 in the last days (February) than in the last months. In general, when paying the coins are combined to form a multiple of AR$5 because many of the prices of discrete products are already rounded. (Although there are exceptions such as candies that are worth AR$3 and are a problem.)

My proposal (in February) is to stick with Superglue two coins of AR$2 and one coin of AR$1 and get a combo of AR$5. It would be much easier than searching and choosing the coins one by one (although perhaps illegal). However, after a few days, surely someone will replace the middle coin with a fake one to obtain a 40% profit.

[Current situation]

[Due to the current situation, we are trying to do only one or two weekly purchases at the supermarket. It is a large purchase and we pay with a credit card, so nobody cares if there are coins or not.]