Argentina is a textbook case of a country telling foreign investors to stay away. That isn’t the official message, of course, but it is the only possible way to interpret recent events. According to the New York Times:
A judge has subpoenaed six newspapers for the names and telephone numbers of all reporters and editors who have covered the economy in the past five years, so they can be called as witnesses against their sources. News organizations called it an attempt to censor and intimidate the news media from accurately reporting on inflation, which many economists say is above 20 percent annually, more than twice what the government says. Judge Alejandro Catania also issued subpoenas on Thursday for the office of the International Monetary Fund in Argentina, the tax ministry and the central bank, seeking information about their consultants and clients, according to the state news agency Telam.
After a signal like that, stockholders should be able to sue the management of any company which puts money into Argentina. It is hard to think of measures which send a more unmistakable warning of dishonesty and impending crisis. Nothing and no one can be safe in a country where such things are done.Markets behave strangely and the Argentines are past masters of manipulation, so it is impossible to predict exactly how or when the disaster will strike. But it could not be more clear that this is a government without scruple or dignity and that there is something going on there that it desperately wants to conceal. When it comes to Argentina, the only sound investment advice is to avoid this country like the plague.