BUENOS AIRES, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Argentina’s Central Bank said on Friday it was introducing a floor for rates on small, fixed-term deposits in order to encourage Argentines to save in pesos, the first policy move announced since a new governor was appointed this week.
New central bank chief Alejandro Vanoli is known for his disapproval of Argentina’s currency black market that has flourished since the government imposed capital controls in 2012, cutting off easy access to dollars.
Argentines, who have seen the value of the peso destroyed again and again by devaluation or inflation in past decades, like to save in greenbacks, particularly in times of crisis.
Inflation in Argentina is now running at around 40 percent, according to private estimates, while the official peso has devalued about 22 percent this year versus the dollar amid a shrinking economy that tipped into default in July.
“The board of the central bank decided today on a series of measures destined to stimulate saving in national currency,” the bank said in a statement on Friday evening. “The aim is to raise the interest rate for the small-time saver.”
The bank said it was fixing a floor for interest rates on savers’ fixed-term deposits of around 23 percent. Until now, banks were free to decide on those rates.
Vanoli made headlines telling state media last year that “publishing the black market (peso) rate is like publishing the daily price of cocaine.” (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)