Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Yes - DO cry for me Argentina!

I have to admire the Argentinian sense of camaraderie. As a nation, they have been fu(ked over so many times by their politicians that there is a seriously deep sense of distrust of any governing body, be it a financial institution, religious or school committee or national government. As an Irishman I can fully relate to that and then some! The Argentinians now come out in their droves to get their point across in peaceful protests at the drop of a hat.

Tonight (June 16), we had yet another protest (2nd in 3 days) with thousands of people banging pots and pans on the streets of Buenos Aires and Entre Rios, Gualeguaychu, Entre Rios, Santa Fe and Cordoba provinces. This is to let the new-ish President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner know that her decision to raise taxes on farmers exports is not winning her any friends here or abroad. Her popularity ratings are sinking like a sumo wrestler in a bath of jello and are even lower than it was when I wrote about it here. In fairness, she desperately needs to raise money somehow but this may not have been the best course of action. She tried to forceably remove the farmers road blockades at the weekend which turned into ugly riots in the rural areas. Some blogs and bulletin boards have hyped this as potential civil war which I find to be annoyingly hyped exaggerated hysterical nonsense, but it is a serious situation nonetheless.

The level of frustration among the porteno people was noticeably heightened tonight when thousands of people hammering on saucepans, waving flags and carrying signs, took to the capital's main streets. SMS texts were flying around earlier in the evening, gathering support and advising people of the impromptu protest and many of the main streets in Buenos Aires were completely blocked and traffic brought to a grounding halt.

This is the fourth farmers strike in three months and more vocal than the previous big protest and threatens to cause food shortages yet again. Restaurants and supermarkets were left bare just a few months ago and it's likely the same will happen again. Hopefully the government won't need to resort to THESE TACTICS this time.

Photo: Courtesy Bloomberg

Inflation is at an all time high of up to 25% (depending who you believe), but this is venomently denied by the government who publish their own 'adjusted' figures of 8%. (All I know is my beer costs 25% more than it did a year ago nuff said!) Foreign investors are starting to run for the hills, so we could be in for a rough ride. I really hope I'm wrong, but this country is renowned for its up and downs which come in cycles (last crash 2001) and this cycle could be just about to turn into a cyclone!

I know what you're thinking - This is a serious post for Quickroute - Where's the pics of naked chicks - ( See post below -pervs!) - but seriously - How's the economy/job situation where you are???


Nick June 17, 2008 4:45 am  

The economic/job situation is pretty good here in Northern Ireland. There are plenty of jobs and plenty of investment now the Troubles are well and truly over. Though the cost of living is creeping up with higher food and fuel prices, and the housing market is dead in the water.

It's good there are so many public protests in Argentina, there aren't enough here over obvious outrages like anti-gay politicians. Our protests only get a few hundred people and a few bedraggled banners if you're lucky.

Xbox4NappyRash June 17, 2008 5:02 am  

Holland is a far cry from Argentica or even Ireland, economically.

Every minute detail of the economy's performance is monitored and controlled as best as possible.

It means no great boom times on the scale of Ireland, but no great downturns either.

You've a bigger pair than I do for living there in that kind of an economic climate.

Lakota June 17, 2008 5:54 am  

Some food items have gone up 50% here and i know we have it good compared to most of the world. Food shopping for me now consists of "i really need that so i'll pay that ridiculous price" versus "there's no way in hell i'm paying THAT much and i can live without "fill in the blank"

Milk is now over $4 a gallon in some places, even a bag of celery that used to cost under $2 is $4 a bag.

Iz scary scary scary - i'm not liking the fractures that are spidering out...

Thriftcriminal June 17, 2008 7:51 am  

There are moves afoot to instigate an IMF style thing in South America run by South Americans (hopefully not infiltrated by Friedmanites like the IMF). That could help, along with an . I say go protestors! We could do with more like that in Ireland to tell the feckers off.

Caro June 17, 2008 9:22 am  

The Italian economy is bad and getting worse. Jobs are hard to find and prices keep rising. Taxes are extremely high as corruption and tax evasion is rife, so the few of us who do pay our taxes get utterly screwed.

I imagine it's not as bad as Argentina, though. At least we have the euro so it would be hard to see how the economy could completely crash like it did in Argentina.

Quickroute June 17, 2008 10:35 am  

Nick: I visited Belfast several times both during and after the troubles - It's like night and day and thankfully a completely better place now.

Xbox: There's a lot to be said for stability. You're lucky. Long may it continue.

Lakota: There's a lot of talk about recession in the US and the knock on effect everywhere. I have 10 years worth of pension (401K) still sitting in the USA and it's dwindling instead of growing because of the $US FX decline :-(

Thriftcriminal: The sooner the better. It's a pity the Irish don't have a bit more 'get up and go' alright but we seem to just roll over and take the shit time after time.

Caro: I think the Italian politicians went to the same school of ultra corrupt politics as the Argentinians. It seems to be all about lining their pockets. It's a shame as it's the little people who end up suffering.

Megan June 17, 2008 12:07 pm  

Just as we were starting to turn around the tiniest bit here in the real estate world, rates went up again.


Baino June 17, 2008 5:01 pm  

Our economy is booming, our interest rates are rising (around 9.2%) and inflation is slowly creeping. Things are more expensive due in no small part to a duopoly of supermarkets however farmer's aren't seeing the effects and after years of drought and now outrageous petrol prices, their bottom line is also shrinking. All part of a world recession on its way. I feel for the farmers who's produce is handled up to five times (all at a cost). They see little of it in the saleyards or markets. Do you have a goods and services tax, like the GST? That might be the way to go so everyone shares the load.

Anonymous,  June 17, 2008 5:34 pm  

tak you by commenting the news from Argentina to the world. Cristina Kirchner is a liar. He is carrying us to the fund.

Quickroute June 17, 2008 7:30 pm  

Baino: We do have the equivalent of GST here but I think fixing the problem is more complex. The upper class here as everywhere are a small group who have the 90% of the money. The middleclass are also a very small group and the rest of the folks are near or on the poverty line so they bear the brunt when prices / taxes go up. - No easy solution here!

Anonymous: Welcome and thanks for dropping by (via the blog link on CNN) no idea how I ended up there?. She's no angel that's for sure and her reign may be short lived unless she acts quick!

Quickroute June 18, 2008 6:15 am  

Megan: ooops! how could I have missed your comment? It must be tough to be in real estate these days. I see gloom and doom on the news everyday about the US housing market and not much sign of a recovery.

Shaunj June 18, 2008 5:00 pm  

Where's the naked chicks?

Quickroute June 18, 2008 5:25 pm  


Re: "Where's the naked Chicks?"

They're banging!

....pots and pans that is! ;-)

livinginpatagonia.com June 19, 2008 12:05 am  

Things in Patagonia are pretty mellow. We also are delaing with some flight cancellations due to the volcanic ash from Chile. There has been some shortages of dairy products in the market, but barely. NO shortage of gas. I think we have had it lucky so far. I hope the two sides figure it out, before the walls close in much more.

Megan June 19, 2008 2:40 am  

We are still in the downturn but at least some of the big players are being honest about it (after the fact) and declaring their losses now rather than later.

As in, "We loaned $500,000 on this house that somebody said was worth $650,000 but is not worth more than $275,000 (and only cost $160,000 to build) and they tried to tell us but we were caught up in the moment..." kind of honesty...

Whoosh. Sorry to throw that on ya, Paddy...

Quickroute June 19, 2008 2:58 am  

Megan: I've never owned real estate and although I know a lot of people who've made a fortune with it - right now i'm very happy I have nought to do with it.

Quickroute June 20, 2008 7:07 pm  

Living in Patagonia: I heard about the volcanic ash in Chile - serious business. glad to hear everything else is not too bad.

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