The BCRA bought USD 161 million in the market although the liquidation is still delayed

The BCRA bought USD 161 million in the market although the liquidation is still delayed
The BCRA bought USD 161 million in the market although the liquidation is still delayed

The BCRA monopolizes more than half of the foreign currency settled by the private sector. (REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

The amount traded in the cash segment of the wholesale market reached USD 295 million this Thursday and remained at low levels for this time of year, when seasonally a greater flow is received from agricultural exports, which are delayed after union measures. and the adversity of heavy rains.

However, the Central Bank bought a relevant amount of USD 161 million in the exchange market, 54.6% of the total on offer, and once again relegated it to the demand of importers.

Since Javier Milei assumed the Presidency of the Nation, the entity is buying more than half of the dollars that the private sector liquidates in the exchange market. In April he accumulated a positive balance with his intervention USD 3,348 million, in the sixth month with positive results. In addition, it was the best month for the Central intervention since September 2022, when the first version of the “soybean” dollar was applied.

Since Monday, December 11, the monetary entity carried out net purchases of 14,902 million of dollars. The Central only made sales in four operational wheels starting on December 11 – and the one on Friday, April 19 was the only one with a neutral balance – since Santiago Bausili assumed the presidency of the organization.

The International reserves grew by USD 614 million in the first round of May, USD 28,189 million, both due to cash purchases, the improvement in other assets that make up the reserves and also rearrangement of balances in foreign currency, since “normally at the end of the month the banks reduce the sold position and restore it at the beginning of the month,” indicated sources from the BCRA. Gross reserves improve under the administration of La Libertad Avanza in USD 6,981 million (+32.9%) from USD 21,208 million on December 7.

The Chamber of the Oil Industry of the Argentine Republic (CIARA) and the Cereal Exporters Center (CEC), reported that during the month ofIn April, companies in the sector settled the sum of USD 1,910 million, with an increase of 27% compared to March. In relation to the same month of April 2023 (USD 2,416 million), when the “soybean” dollar scheme was in operation, there was a 21.5% drop in settlements in the sector. However, in the accumulated of the first four months of 2024 (USD 6,433 million) there was an improvement in income of 23% in relation to the accumulated of January-April 2023 (USD 5,237 million).

Juan Manuel Franco, Chief Economist of the SBS Group, explained that “in the last days of April the cash with settlement operated with an upward bias. We believe that this is mainly due to the fact that the volume of export liquidations fell in a context in which a large part of the bulk harvest is still expected. Let us remember that the cash market with settlement is a market that operates mainly by flows, and that due to the current settlement scheme it had a significant appreciation in real terms.”

On the other hand, the Central Bank resolved through two communications to enable the payment of dividends to foreign shareholders in what is considered the first step to make the exchange rate more flexible. Payment, as anticipated, may only be implemented through Bopreal (Bond for the Reconstruction of a Free Argentina), a dollar title that the entity at the time offered to importers to resolve a part of the commercial debt.

Through Communication A7999, the BCRA established last night that clients will be able to subscribe to the bonds “for up to the equivalent in local currency of the profits and dividends pending payment to non-resident shareholders according to the distribution determined by the shareholders’ meeting.” .

Foreign shareholders may thus choose to collect through Series 3 of Bopreal, maturing in 2026 with a rate of 3% per year. It is difficult to specify the total amount of withheld payments; different estimates indicate a minimum of USD 6 billion, although it is not ruled out that the figure could be higher.

“If the debt of importers was a restriction to release exchange controls when Milei arrived, it continues to be so: that debt is greater today than at the time of the President’s inauguration,” indicated a report from the Research team of Wise Capital. “That the debt of importers has increased by USD 9,402 million in the first three months of the Milei administration means that the placement of Bopreal only resolved the commercial debt inherited by Alberto Fernández, but not the one created under the new Government. What’s more, the increase in debt in these last three months is USD 500 million greater than the increase in reserves.”

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