Saturday, May 18, 2024

ECONOMY | 07-05-2024 22:10

Amid punishing inflation, 10,000-peso banknote enters into circulation in Argentina

In a move that recognises runaway inflation of almost 290 percent, Argentina launches a new high-denomination banknote of 10,000 pesos – worth around US$11.

The national government on Tuesday officially introduced into circulation a 10,000-peso banknote, worth the equivalent of about US$11 – five times the face value of the previous biggest 2,000-peso bill.

The new note, which will allow people to carry around fewer bills, will be available at banks and ATMs from Tuesday, Argentina’s Central Bank said in a statement.

"The Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) is putting the new 10,000-peso banknote into circulation, which will be distributed progressively from today," said the monetary authority in a statement. 

It said the move would facilitate easier transactions and reduce the "costs of acquiring finished banknotes.”

Argentina is in the grips of an economic crisis that has seen annual inflation nearing 290 percent. Poverty affects about half the population, though private studies place the figure higher. President Javier Milei has suggested it is around 60 percent.

With no end seemingly in sight, the Central Bank has confirmed a 20,000-peso note will be issued later this year.

The 2,000-peso bill (now worth around US$2.20) was launched just a year ago, double the then-biggest note of 1,000 pesos – of which one would need about 15 to pay for an average restaurant dinner for one today.

Inflation and constant currency devaluations in recent years have made many existing banknotes almost worthless. Previous governments moved to withdraw the lowest denomination banknotes – the two, five and ten peso notes – from circulation.

The issuing of high-denomination banknotes is nothing new in Argentina, which had a bill with a face value of 1,000,000 pesos in the 1980s. Over the past 140 years, the nation has changed the name of its currency five times. 

The main image on the new 10,000-peso bill features Manuel Belgrano (1770-1820) – creator of the Argentine flag and commander of the so-called ‘Ejército del Norte’ (Army of the North) in the early 19th century – alongside fellow independence heroine María Remedios del Valle.

The image of Belgrano is from a portrait attributed to the French artist François Casimir Carbonnier, while the portrayal of the Remedios del Valle is from a work by Argentine artist Gisela Banzer.

The reverse image is an artistic recreation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, which took place on February 27, 1812.

The upcoming 20,000-peso bill will feature constitutional founder Juan Bautista Alberdi, the man who inspired the 1853 Constitution – and is President Milei’s favourite politician.



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