Argentine Banks Run Out of Money

From Reuters

Argentina ran out of money Friday.

The government decreed a banking and foreign exchange holiday because of a shortage of banknotes. It blamed delays in the supply of banknote paper and a strike at the Federal Mint.

Banks are scheduled to reopen Tuesday after the May 1 Labor Day holiday.

With most retailers already refusing to honor credit cards because of double-digit monthly inflation, thousands of people trying to cash their paychecks were left stranded without money. Long lines formed at automatic teller machines.

Asked whether he had seen any scuffles in the lines, Manuel Cuinas, a young lawyer standing in line for a cash dispenser, said, "What for, we are now resigned."

Only pensioners, state workers and employees of companies that have special agreements with banks were being paid.

The cash crunch was the latest in a long list of economic woes, fueled by runaway inflation, to hit Argentina as it heads for general elections on May 14.

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