Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.The Brexit War! EU Fearing Collapse Set to Stoke Scottish Independence Proxy War - Nadeem_Walayat
2.London Terror Attack Red Herring, Real Issue is Age of Reason vs Religion - Nadeem_Walayat
3.The BrExit War, Game Theory Strategy for What UK Should Do to Win - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Goldman Sachs Backing A Copper Boom In 2017 - OilPrice_Com
5.Trump to Fire 50 US Cruise Missiles To Erase Syrian Chemical Attack Air Base, China Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
6.US Stock Market Consolidation Time - Rambus_Chartology
7.Stock Market Investors Stupid is as Stupid Goes - James_Quinn
8.Gold in Fed Interest Rate Hike Cycles- Zeal_LLC
9.The BrExit War - Britain Intelligence Super Power Covert War With the EU - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Marc Faber: Euro to Strengthen, Dollar to Weaken, Gold and Emerging Markets to Outperform - MoneyMetals
Last 7 days
What Trump’s Next 100 Days Will Look Like - 26th Apr 17
G20: SURPASSING THE 2nd GLOBAL STEEL CRISIS - 26th Apr 17
What A War With North Korea Would Look Like - 25th Apr 17
Pensions Are On The Way Out But Retirement Funds Are Not Working Either - 25th Apr 17
Frank Holmes : Gold Could Hit $1,500 in 2017 Amid Imbalances & Weak Supply - 25th Apr 17
3 Reasons Why “Spring Forward, Fall Back” Also Applies To Gold - 25th Apr 17
SPX may be Aiming at the Cycle Top Resistance - 25th Apr 17
Walmart Stock Extending Higher - Elliott Wave Trend Forecast - 25th Apr 17
Google Panics and KILLS YouTube to Appease Mainstream Media and Corporate Advertisers - 25th Apr 17
Gold Price Is 1% Shy of Ripping Higher - 25th Apr 17
Exchange-Traded Funds Make Decisions Easy - 25th Apr 17
Trump Is Among The Institutionally Weakest National Leaders In The World - 25th Apr 17
3 Maps That Explain the Geopolitics of Nuclear Weapons - 25th Apr 17
Risk on Stock Market French Election Euphoria - 24th Apr 17
Fear Campaign Against Americans Continues Nuclear Attack Drills in New York City - 24th Apr 17
Is the Stock Market Bounce Over? - 24th Apr 17
This Could Be One Of the Biggest Winners Of The Electric Car Boom - 24th Apr 17
Le Pen Shifts Political Landscape- The Rise of New French Gaullism  - 24th Apr 17
IMF Says Austerity Is Over - Surplus or Stimulus - 24th Apr 17
EURUSD at a Critical Point in Wave Structure - 23rd Apr 17
Stock Market Grand Super Cycle Overview While SPX Correction Continues - 23rd Apr 17
Robert Prechter Talks About Elliott Waves and His New Book - 23rd Apr 17
Le Pen, Melenchon French Election Stock, Bond and Euro Markets Crash - 22nd Apr 17
Why You Are Not An Investor - 22nd Apr 17
Gold Price Upleg Momentum Building - 22nd Apr 17
Why Now Gold and Silver Precious Metals? - 22nd Apr 17
4 Maps That Signal Central Asia Is at Risk of War - 22nd Apr 17
5 Key Steps For A Comfortable Retirement From Former Wall Street Trader - 22nd Apr 17
Can Marine Le Pen Win? French Presidential Election Forecast 2017 - 21st Apr 17
Why Stock Market Investors May Soon Be In For A Rude Awakening - 21st Apr 17
Median US Household’s Wealth Has Declined by 40% Since 2007 - 21st Apr 17
Silver, Platinum and Palladium as Investments – Research Shows Diversification Benefit - 21st Apr 17
U.S. Stock Market and Gold, Post Tomahawks and MOAB - 21st Apr 17
An In Depth Look at the Precious Metals Complex - 20th Apr 17
The Real Story of China’s Strong First-Quarter Growth - 20th Apr 17
3 Types Of Life-Changing Crisis That Make You Wish You Had Some Gold - 20th Apr 17
The Truth is a Dangerous Thing - 20th Apr 17
2 Choke Points That Threaten Oil Trade Between Persian Gulf And East Asia - 20th Apr 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Why 95% of Traders Fail

Venezuela vs. Argentina, Which Will Run Out of Money First?

Politics / Emerging Markets Oct 17, 2012 - 01:12 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: After a surprisingly comfortable re-election, Venezuela has decided to stick with Hugo Chavez and all that comes with him.

That has prompted The Wall Street Journal and other pundits to forecast nothing less than economic doom for Venezuela in 2013.


But when it comes to poorly run South American countries, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is someone that could easily give Chavez a run for his money.

As Argentina's president, Fernandez de Kirchner is a master of economically inept policies in her own right.

So who will win this race to the bottom?

Let's examine which one of these losers will run out of money first, starting with Venezuela's Chavez.

After all, when it comes to wealth destruction, Chavez has had a pretty big head start. He was elected in 1998, while Fernandez's husband was first elected president in 2003 (she succeeded him as president in 2007; he died in 2009.)

What's more, the wealth destruction in Venezuela did not begin with Chavez. The Conference Board Total Economy Database shows that Venezuelan productivity was more than 20% lower in 1998 than it had been in 1970.

In fact, I did a study on the potential for Venezuelan corporate finance for a client bank back in 1990 and came to the conclusion that there was very little potential for it.

Other than the oil company PdVSA, there were very few corporations in Venezuela for which one could imagine doing corporate finance deals of any substance. There were a few local monopolies like the tobacco company, but essentially all business activity beyond the mom-and-pop store level centered round the oil sector.

That same thing was not true in Argentina.

Venezuela vs. Argentina
Argentina was genuinely rich in 1929, and its minerals and commodities business was sufficiently diversified that even when I was there in the 1980s - a low point - there was obviously lots of locally owned stuff going on.

What's more, the Argentine economy was decently run in the 1990s, with the currency pegged to the dollar. At the time, free market policies were basically in force and the level of corruption was reduced to a manageable level under President Carlos Menem.

However, commodity prices were low throughout the 1990s, so the budget and balance of payments ran into difficulties. That resulted in a default on debt and a sudden devaluation of the peso from parity against the dollar to 4 to 1, wiping out many middle class savings which were forcibly "pesified."

The skills needed to run a decent economy in the two countries thus are different.

In Argentina, while commodity prices are high, you just need to run a free market system and keep the government from bloating itself. If you can stick to that, wealth will come.

Of course, since Argentina ran more or less free-market policies in the 1990s, which ended badly, and admirably free-market policies in the 1930s, which coincided with the Great Depression, the chances of the Argentine electorate accepting decent policies is pretty slim.

By comparison, Venezuela is more difficult.

If PdVSA is run properly (a job at which Chavez is failing - Venezuelan oil output is down by about a third since 2001), then there will generally be enough revenue to keep the place afloat.

However, it will all be concentrated in the government.

Even if PdVSA were fully privatized, a rational government would charge it huge royalties and produce the same effect. Thus Venezuela has not had free market policies since the 1950s, and is unlikely to get them as long as the oil lasts.

Even if the Venezuelan electorate underwent a mass conversion, Venezuela would still remain badly run; its troubles are far less the fault of its people's foolishness than in Argentina.

Argentina Takes the Lead
So while the two countries are fairly close on their road to ruin, Argentina has the lead.

Here's why.

Venezuela has nationalized almost all the foreign companies operating in the country, whereas Argentina has only begun by nationalizing the oil company. Indeed, in Argentina several mining companies are expanding, foolishly imagining they will avoid the treatment.

Both countries operate rigorous foreign exchange controls, both countries have "free market" exchange rates far lower than the official rates, and in both countries the governments have taken steps to seize the foreign exchange reserves.

Still, even though Venezuela has been slightly more hostile to foreign investment, my bet would be on Argentina running out of money first.

The reason is that Venezuela already controls its main source of export earnings through PdVSA, whereas Argentina is reliant on its agriculture sector and foreign mining companies to provide foreign exchange.

Thus bad behavior by the Argentine government will eliminate the flow of foreign money, whereas provided Chavez can find even a few top managers for the oil company, Venezuela's foreign money flow is guaranteed.

So here's the bottom line: unless Chavez gets sick again, Venezuela can probably stagger on for some years.

Argentina, on the other hand, could collapse within a year.

Needless to say, you should avoid investing in either one of these black holes.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/10/17/which-one-of-these-losers-will-run-out-of-money-first/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2012 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife