April 17, 2012

Argentina’s latest economic lesson

Filed under: Americas, Economics — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:50

Jan Boucek explains why Argentina is providing a helpful example to other countries on what not to do in economic policy:

This week, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced the seizure of Spanish oil company Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil company YPF to give the government 51% control. Spain is outraged and has recalled its ambassador. […]

Ms Fernandez justified her move on the grounds that YPF has failed to invest sufficiently to prevent Argentina from importing ever greater quantities of fuel. The fact that Argentine oil reserves have been dwindling means the sector needs greater and increasingly sophisticated investment to reach more complex structures, just like in the North Sea. Expropriation isn’t going to attract that kind of high-risk investment.

[. . .]

The YPF seizure continues Argentina’s cavalier attitude towards other people’s money shown back in 2008 when Ms Fernandez grabbed some $24 billion of private pension funds and used central bank reserves to meet debt payments. More recently, the country has been in a spat with the IMF over the quality of its statistics. Argentina claims inflation is running at somewhere between 5% and 11% but private independent estimates put the number at somewhere around 25%. The Economist is refusing to publish official Argentine inflation data.

Update: Well, regardless of the state of the economy, President Fernandez de Kirchner has a friend in the White House! President Obama has indicated his support for the Argentinian claim to … the ¿Maldives?

President Obama erred during a speech at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, when attempting to call the disputed archipelago by its Spanish name.

Instead of saying Malvinas, however, Mr Obama referred to the islands as the Maldives, a group of 26 atolls off that lie off the South coast of India.

The Maldives were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965 and the site of a UK airbase for nearly 20 years.


  1. Mr Obama referred to the islands as the Maldives,

    This is the man 51% of my countrymen wanted answering the phone at 3 a.m.

    Comment by Brian Dunbar — April 17, 2012 @ 15:40

  2. Well, 51% of those who bothered to vote.

    As we’re constantly being reminded in Canada, the governing party didn’t get 50%+1 of all the eligible voters, therefore Stephen Harper has no mandate. (Oddly the same argument isn’t considered valid when the PM is a Liberal, and almost certainly wouldn’t be considered valid if we ended up with an NDP PM).

    Comment by Nicholas — April 17, 2012 @ 15:51

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