Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ECONOMY | 22-11-2022 16:53

Massa team on alert amid accelerating Central Bank reserves sales

Argentina’s Central Bank had to sacrifice almost US$200 million in operations on the foreign exchange market last week.

Just weeks after the relief generated by the inflow of greenbacks from the "soy dollar" programme calmed their fears, Argentina’s economic team is on alert due to the accelerating outflow of Central Bank reserves seen in November.

After bringing in around US$5 billion in September thanks to Sergio Massa’s soybean dollar scheme, the Central Bank was forced to sell US$1.5 billion in October.

Last week, the institution sold US$200 million in operations on the foreign exchange market. The level was below the preceding week’s US$530 million, but in November so far net sales of almost US$1 billion has been recorded. That exceeds the US$730 million sold over the same period in 2021.

The difficulties in accumulating foreign currency coincide with a new turn in the stabilisation plan launched by Massa. The economy minister has gone from negotiating sectoral benefits, provided with differential exchange rates (a dollar at 200 pesos for grain producers, for example) to restricting imports in recent months. He is making accessing dollars more expensive too, lately with the launch of the Qatar dollar, while the officialisation of the so-called ‘techno dollar’ rate has been delayed.

The implementation of a dollar at 338 pesos for credit and debit card spending from purchases exceeding US$300 caused a reduction in consumption prior to the start of the World Cup.

The Central Bank's net sales for the four consecutive weeks have also been combined with difficulties in extending peso debt maturities and the surge in financial dollars.

The spot market (CCL), which closed on Friday at 332 pesos per greenback and reached its highest level since June, signals the disarmament of those who had bet on peso rates and securities, after almost two months in which the parallels were frozen.



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