Economy Minister Sergio Massa’s new scheme to boost exports and bolster Central Bank reserves has met with a mixed response, with governors cheering the plan and agricultural chambers calling for a longer-term approach to Argentina’s foreign currency woes.
Massa’s Programa de Incremento Exportador recognises a dollar of 300 pesos for agricultural exports, including automatic benefits for drought-stricken farmers and penalties for those not cashing in their export dollars.
That measure was harshly criticised by the Mesa de Enlace lobby (grouping four leading associations of the sector: Coninagro, Confederaciones Rurales Argentinas, Federación Agraria and the Sociedad Rural), which considered it a "drought of ideas to expel farmers."
Cabinet Chief Agustín Rossi accused the Mesa of a "partisan identification" with the opposition and of proclaiming "ideologically blind" stances .
Provincial governors were more positive about the Economy Ministry’s programme, understanding it to make regional economies "more competitive" (in the words of Entre Ríos Governor Gustavo Bordet) with bigger profits for farmers. Governors Juan Manzur (Tucumán) and Omar Perotti (Santa Fe) were also optimistic with the latter describing it as a "positive signal in these difficult times of drought” while the governors of Chubut, Chaco and Misiones all expressed confidence in increased exports for their provinces.
Internal government analysis estimates the seven-week window for the rate could bring in as much as US$5 billion in foreign currency if the market reacts favourably while Agriculture Secretary Juan José Bahillo stretched the target to US$9 billion through to August including the regional economies.