As The Real Turns: Brazil’s Importance Felt Daily In Argentina

Patrick Archer entrepreneurs, foreign investment

Of all of the Latin American countries participating in July’s Copa America, neighboring Brazil will undoubtedly send the most fans.

After an opening round match in Buenos Aires against Venezuela on July 3, the Verde-Amarela nation will descend on Cordoba, San Juan and Mendoza. Yet, six weeks before the tournament begins, there are no rumors of a Brazilian invasion, because, as La Nacion’s Emilia Subiza reports, Brazil already dominates so many aspects of daily life in Argentina.

In a sweeping analysis of various sectors of the economy, Subiza likens Argentina to a small cog spinning alongside larger Brazilian cogs in the machinery of bilateral trade. Today Brazil, the world’s eighth-largest economy, buys 82% of autos built in Argentina, 42% of all Argentine industrial exports and 21% of total exports. Brazil ranks fourth in terms of DFI in Argentina, and is slowly beginning to dominate certain sectors like banking, beef, cement and shoes. One example: Argentina’s largest bank has 944 ATMs in the country; Brazilian banks now have 755.

The nationwide ATM network is especially convenient for the 863,492 Brazilian tourists that came to Argentina last year, more than double the number from 2009 and possibly on pace to top 1 million this year. A Standard Bank economist tells Subiza, “there is a relatively new phenomenon which is the enormous quantity of Brazilian tourists that come to Argentina and are having a profound impact on the economy.”

So profound, writes Subiza, that Bariloche is now referred to as Brasiloche and Brazilian airline TAM had to upgrade from Airbus 320s to 330s just to accommodate more inbound Brazilian passengers. Like the cogs in her original analogy, giant Brazilian airlines and banks grinding out tourists and reais, with the smaller, service-oriented Argentine cogs, all too happy to receive them. (Full Story in Spanish)

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