Wednesday, July 2, 2014
U.S. June auto sales beat expectations (16.9 million vs. 16.4), and have extended their impressive 5+ years of recovery. Sales are now back to the average level of sales pre-recession, and they are likely to move higher over the next few years as consumers gradually upgrade older vehicles, and jobs and incomes continue to expand. The current recovery in auto sales is of similar magnitude to what we saw in the go-go 1980s. It doesn't get much better than this.
U.S. crude oil production has also experienced a huge recovery in the past six years. This is a huge change on the margin whose eventual impact on the economy is difficult to over-estimate.
We begin our journey back to the U.S. in a few hours—it will take almost 24 hours to get home from where we now are (visiting friends in Cordoba). Despite all its problems (inflation, corruption, and terribly misguided economic policies), visitors to Argentina can enjoy wonderfully friendly people, and fantastic food and wine. Thanks to the huge devaluation of the peso in the past six months, delicious steaks go for $6, and you can get an excellent bottle of wine for $10-15 at most restaurants.
If you're traveling here, be sure to bring cash (clean $100 bills are preferred) in order to take advantage of the "blue" exchange rate which is currently about 12 pesos/$. (The official rate is 8.15). You can find the blue rate here, which is from the La Nación newspaper (hover your cursor over "Dólar hoy" in the upper right hand area of the page). Many restaurants and hotels will take U.S. currency at that rate, and if you ask around you can find agencies willing to exchange pesos for dollars at that rate. You won't get that rate at banks or ATMs however—just the official rate.
Posted by Scott Grannis at 8:29 AM