Taylor Swift tickets may cost a fortune in the United States, but 100 percent inflation in Argentina is about to make her highly coveted concert a world-class bargain.
Excluding fees, tickets in the standing-room only area closest to the stage where Swift will sing for two shows in November are going for 75,000 pesos, or about US$153, according to commonly used informal exchange rates in Argentina.
The ticket bargain has already sparked a social media frenzy. And just as the high US ticket prices are giving fans a lesson in supply-and-demand, her newly announced Latin American tour adds to the Swiftonomics syllabus the subjects of high inflation and exchange rates.
So much so that some US fans are weighing the cost of a full trip to a Latin American city against the price of a single resale ticket in the United States.
Some of the cheapest seats for this weekend’s concerts in Chicago are still north of US$700 in the secondary market. For other US shows, tickets that were originally sold for as little as US$49 plus fees are often going for more than US$1,500 in reseller apps. The cheapest flight from Chicago to Buenos Aires in November is currently priced at US$911.
For thousands in Argentina, the ultimate cost of that premium ticket will even end up being significantly less than US$153. That’s because customers for one bank in Argentina, Banco Patagonia, get dibs on the first 24,000 Swift tickets and can pay in six installments free of interest, according to ticket sale site AllAccess.com.
As inflation charges into triple digits, Argentina’s exchange rates will undoubtedly go up too, while the pay installments in pesos remain fixed. In short, the economy wipes out the cost of pay installments over time.
Credit cards are tied to Argentina’s official exchange rate — about 241 pesos per US dollar — which is overvalued due to strict government controls. The informal rates are about double the value at 490 pesos per dollar.
To take advantage of the gap between exchange rates, it’s common practice in the South American country for consumers to sell US dollar savings on the black market for pesos, deposit the cash in pesos at the bank and pay down a credit card bill. Pay installments without interest are also a popular strategy for locals to partially shield themselves from high inflation and currency devaluations.
Despite a deepening economic crisis, Argentines are known for splurging on tickets when big shows arrive. Coldplay sold out 10 shows in Buenos Aires last year, more concerts in any other single city during their worldwide tour.
With Swift’s Eras Tour in full swing in the United States, Bloomberg News reported she’s making more than US$10 million per event, booking between US$11 million and US$12 million in ticket sales apiece.
Tickets to the general public in Argentina go on sale June 6.
by Patrick Gillespie & Augusta Saraiva, Bloomberg