Capital/Other major cities: Buenos Aires/Córdoba, Santa Fe,
Mendoza, Tucumán, La Plata
Area: 2,766,890 km2
Currency: Argentine peso (ARS)
Country telephone code: 54
National holidays (excl. weekends)**: 2nd half 2008 — Jul 9, Aug 18, Nov 6,
Dec 8, 25
2009 — Jan 1, Mar 24, Apr 2, 9, 10,
May 1, 25, Jun 15, Jul 9, Aug 17, Oct12, Nov 6, Dec 8, 25
Business hours: 09:00–18:00 (Mon–Fri)
Banking hours: 10:00–15:00 (Mon–Fri)
Stock exchange: Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires (BCBA)
Leading share indices: MERVAL Index, MERVAL 25 Index, BOLSA-G Index,
BURCAP Index, M.AR Index
• Republic with a bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) composed of the Senate and the Chamber ofDeputies.
• Senate – 72 members, of whom a third are directly elected every two years for six-year terms.
• Chamber of Deputies – 257 members, of whom half are directly elected every two years for four-year terms.
• The president is directly elected every four years. The next presidential election will be held in 2011.
Head of state and political leader
• Cristina Fernándezde Kirchner, president (head of state and government) since December 10, 2007.
Sectoral distribution of GDP (% of GDP)
• Agriculture 6%
• Industry 29%
• Services 65% (2007)
Country Credit Rating
Legal and regulatory
The Banco Central de la República Argentina (BCRA) is an autonomous institution that operates in accordance with the BCRALaw of 2003.
The Superintendency of Financial and Foreign Exchange Institutions (SEFyC), a decentralized agency within the BCRA, acts as the supervisory and regulatory authority for the financial sector in Argentina.
Non-resident bank accounts denominated in domestic (ARS) currency are permitted in Argentina, Time deposits in USD or EUR and, with priorapproval from the BCRA, deposit accounts in other foreign currencies can be held by non-residents as long as identification requirements are met.
• All transactions between residents and non-residents are monitored by the BCRA.
• Banks and financial intermediaries apply exchange controls on behalf of the BCRA. Balance of paymentsstatistics are collated by the Dirección Nacional de Cuentas Internacionales (DNCI).
• Argentina is a member of the Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) regional common market. Mercosur member countries include Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
• Argentina is a member of the LAIA (Latin America Integration Association).
• Regional payment and clearingarrangements exist between Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Payments can be made through unique central bank accounts within the framework of the multilateral clearing system of the LAIA.
• The Argentine peso (ARS) is Argentina’s official currency, the exchange rate is independently floating.
• Differentexchange controls apply to different types of institutions (banks, exchange agencies, exchange houses, exchange offices and financial companies) authorized by the BCRA to carry out exchange transactions.
• Authorization from the BCRA is required for settling certain types of forward contracts and other foreign derivatives with financial institutions based abroad.
• There are restrictionson certain foreign exchange transactions involving non-residents. Exports of cash in excess of USD 10,000 need prior approval from the BCRA. The tax authorities must be notified of all inward transfers in excess of USD 50,000.
• Export proceeds are required to be either fully repatriated, or sold in the foreign exchange market, within 60–360 days, subject to the type of goods or services...