Inflation is one of the main concerns of the ruling party ahead of the upcoming elections

We know that human beings have a weakness for gambling. This explains the historical success of lotteries, casinos and horse racing. In these times, the global society is betting on football matches, tennis matches and even ping pong matches. What few know is that the uncertainty of the Argentine economy has opened up a new market for betting companies: guess the inflation rate in Argentina. It sounds like a joke, but it’s not. There is a website (bplay) which collects bets on the monthly INDEC announcements. It does this in a number space called “Crazy Markets » and it’s frequented by economists, financial officers and yuppies wanting to risk a few pesos. March inflation was candy for punters. Most of them offered their money at a rate between 6.9% and 7%. The bank would have paid them each peso multiplied by 1.65. It’s because the favorites always pay less. Those who had bet at 7.1 or 7.2% would have doubled their pesos.

There are groups of bettors who gamble for
There are groups of bettors who play to “guess” the inflation of the next in Argentina

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Anyone who believed in the efficiency of government and bet on 6.5% would have multiplied the profits by seven. It was because there were few who were encouraged by an index that started at six years. But the only ones who understood were the most skeptical: Those who bet on 7.7% inflation for the month of March won and took every peso bet multiplied by ten. In Argentina, luck accompanies those who bet that everything could be worse. In politics, there are also risky bets. Perhaps we are in the antechamber of two of the most exotic electoral experiences of decades.The first is that of the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, who maintains his idea of ​​being the presidential candidate of the Frente de Todos. Even with March inflation at 7.7%; annual inflation above 104% and April’s inflation with increases in food and clothing that push some consultants to risk another index that starts with 7. Earlier this year, Massa explained that to consolidate his presidential candidacy, April inflation was supposed to start with the number 3. And it won’t happen again. The minister will be lucky if the price increase starts with 6. This precision will arrive in the third week of May, very close to June. That is to say a few days before the Frente de Todos (and also the opposition) define who will be their candidates for PASO. Very complicated.

Last month's inflation was 7.7% and worried the government (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)
Last month’s inflation was 7.7% and worried the government (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

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Freeze plans that the government called fair prices did not work. The bond swap to defer payment of peso debts to next year failed, and the mini-devaluations known as the 1, 2, and 3 soy dollar failed to advance a little the liquidations of the agricultural exporters and balance like the fall of the monetary reserves. Inflation seems indomitable. The results of Sergio Massa’s six trips in six months to Washington to negotiate with the director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and with his right-hand man, the Indian economist Gita Gopinath, are not entirely clear either. IMF acknowledges impact of drought on Argentine economy; accepts the argument that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was also detrimental, but They know perfectly well that inflation in Argentina is not going down because the budget deficit has never been reduced. The IMF was shocked that Congress approved the pension moratorium promoted by Kirchnerism. Massa’s actions with credit agencies; His good contacts with US government officials and Alberto Fernández’s interview with Joe Biden at the White House were not enough to change this bad impression. At this point, to the Fund, they are convinced that the current government will not achieve the objectives of the agreement and they are only waiting for December.

Cristina Kirchner and Massa are the candidates with the highest electoral floor in all polls by the Frente de Todos (NA)
Cristina Kirchner and Massa are the candidates with the highest electoral floor in all polls by the Frente de Todos (NA)

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In the middle of this panorama, Massa will wait until the end of May to define whether he is a presidential candidate or not. One of the biggest obstacles, by the way, is the definition that the Minister of the Economy has repeatedly slipped. He said he would not be a candidate and a minister at the same time. That is to say, he would leave Economics if, despite the difficulties, he embarked on the path of competition for the Presidency. Who would replace him? Some think Deputy Minister Gabriel Rubinstein would so that everything stays more or less the same. Others think a politician should replace him. “Cristina remains convinced that the only candidate she has is Sergio and she will wait for him until the last minute.” explains one of the leaders who listens to their rantings. The question running through the Front of All is multiple. Can a Minister of the Economy be a candidate for the presidency with a scenario of super inflation? How to deal with a campaign in which Massa would have to constantly explain the reasons for the price increase? AND what would happen if the economy took off after PASO, how it happened to Together for Change Four years ago? There is no historical context on the finance minister candidates since inflation became a chronic disease in Argentina. With a hyper, Raúl Alfonsín took on the then-governor of Cordoba, Eduardo Angeloz, in 1989. With inflation close to 30% per year, Cristina Kirchner opted for Daniel Scioli in 2015, who was the governor of Buenos Aires . And with more than 50% increase, Mauricio Macri preferred to seek re-election rather than take another candidate from his space. In all three cases, all these candidates lost. Despite the government’s dismal indicators, Cristina Kirchner and Massa are the candidates with the highest electoral floor in all the polls for the Front de Tous. Behind them is Scioli, who has already expressed his intention to run and who is the most likely candidate should Massa give up on running.

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In Peronism, no one takes too seriously the attempts of Alberto Fernández to talk about his re-election, nor those of Minister Wado de Pedro, who travels the provinces and appears before business hearings with the oxymoron of the moderate kirchnerista. with one of them the Frente de Todos would run the risk of coming out third and being excluded from the ballot. A warning that more and more pollsters are issuing. While Javier Milei continues to appear in third place, the ineffectiveness of the ruling party and the extreme confrontation of Together for Change puts him at the center of expectations. Amid the decline of the government she herself promoted by electing Alberto Fernández as its presidential candidate, Cristina hatches one last strategy to survive in power. His plan is for Massa to resist as best he can and run for the presidency; establish with him and with the Peronist mayors of Greater Buenos Aires the lists of legislators, and bet all the chips on a Buenos Aires ballot in which Axel Kicillof is running for re-election as governor and her as the top candidate for senator. All the meat on the grill of Kirchnerisme placed in the electoral shelter of Buenos Aires. The province has vital financial funds and maintaining the Senate seat would facilitate Cristina’s parliamentary privileges to avoid any immediate complications. That way, you won’t have to worry about the six-year prison sentence that Federal Oral Court 2 gave you for fraud against the state in the Highway case. Far were those ban flags against Cristina for court cases. The worn-out slogans did not catch on in a society overwhelmed by economic crisis and hardly aroused the enthusiasm of the most religious activists. The half-filled Plaza de Tribunales last Thursday convinced Kirchnerists (and the Vice President herself) that they needed to find other answers if they don’t want to be buried by the wave of disenchantment that is sweeping through the majority of Argentines. Cristina, but also Massa and even Alberto Fernández appraised with concern the results of Sunday’s elections in Neuquén and Río Negro, the first two elections in a series that will culminate in October with the battle for the presidency. They not only warned of the fall, after 60 years, of a provincial giant like the Popular Movement of Neuquén. They also received the news that Kirchnerism was third and a long way from victory in both Patagonian provinces. It is no longer just the fallible oracle of the polls. Today, it is the results of the polls that portend a fate of collapse for an aimless ruling party. No one is safe in a country where uncertainty is the feeling that dominates the discouragement of Argentines.

Continue reading:

History: for the first time in more than six decades, the MPN loses the post of governor in Neuquén
From early caution to final euphoria, “Rolo” Figueroa celebrated historic triumph with tears and hugs
Rolando Figueroa, the man who made history in Neuquén by ending a more than 60-year hegemony of the MPN
Daniel Scioli: “I save things from the government of Néstor and Cristina, from Macri it is difficult to save something”

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