Inflation-hit Argentina launches new top banknote, worth just $10


(Reuters) – Argentina has a new largest banknote, the 10,000 peso, which is five times the size of the previous top bill but still only worth around $10 as the South American country grapples with the world’s highest inflation rate that is nearing 300%.

The embattled country’s central bank launched the new note on Tuesday, which it said will be rolled out gradually and features independence icons Manuel Belgrano and Maria Remedios del Valle, who were featured on previous smaller bills.

The bank said that the 10,000 peso note, along with an even larger 20,000 peso bill that would come into circulation near the end of the year, would “facilitate transactions between users”, simplify financial system logistics and cut costs.

Argentina’s triple-digit inflation and steadily depreciating peso currency has over years drained the value of the local tender, leading to a situation where people often carry huge stacks of cash with them to cover costs.

The current top 2,000 peso bill is worth just over $2 at the official exchange rate, far less valuable than the largest note in countries around the region and beyond. The 10,000 note is worth $11 at the official rate but just $9 at freely-accessible parallel rates used to get around strict capital controls.

New libertarian President Javier Milei, who took office in December, is trying to clean up an economic crisis he inherited after years of failure by governments on the left and right to stabilize the grains producing country’s financial position.

His tough austerity measures and cost-cutting have helped lower monthly price rises faster than anticipated, even as annual inflation remains sky-high. That’s let the central bank cut interest rates significantly over recent months.

($1 = 880.5000 Argentine pesos)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland and Adam Jourdan; Editing by David Alire Garcia)

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