First, the BCRA announced a relaxation of the limit to the global net foreign currency position of financial entities that it had established at the beginning of November in order to avoid speculative movements in the pre-election rounds and to ease exchange rate pressures.
After the elections, the entity chaired by Miguel Pesce decided to lift that restriction as of December 1. “Thanks to this modification, the Financial System will be able to return to a neutral exchange position in foreign currency,” the BCRA said in a statement.
On November 4, the monetary authority had established that banks should maintain their net global position in foreign currency until the end of the month “in order to discourage speculation about possible jumps in the exchange rate” in the last days before the elections. In fact, the easing is rather a non-renewal of the measure.
Banks reached November with a net global position in foreign currency below the regulatory limit. Central estimates indicated that in the financial system as a whole they had a margin to raise it by up to about US $ 1 billion. The intention was to avoid a repetition of what happened before the PASO, when the banks dollarized a good part of their portfolio to wait for the outcome of the primaries to be covered and then normalized the composition of their holdings.
As the measure implied that financial institutions had to maintain their net global position at the same level as the monthly average of daily balances in October or the one in force as of November 4 (whichever was lower), some banks had to go out and sell dollars to adapt to the level of the previous month. This allowed the BCRA to put together some buying balance wheels in the official market during days of strong exchange rate pressure. The easing will come in December, a month in which the Central expects that the dollars from the liquidation of the wheat harvest will begin to enter and that this will help stabilize the supply and demand of foreign currency in the wholesale market.
The same happened with the advance payment of imports of capital goods, which had been limited at the beginning of October together with the advances for the acquisition of inputs. Although the payment of inputs had already been made more flexible since the beginning of November due to complaints from companies.
Now, from December 1, importers will be able to automatically access the foreign exchange market to make advance payments for capital goods up to 270 days in advance. The flexibility will apply to all goods with values of up to US $ 1 million.
“This will especially facilitate the access of various SMEs to capital goods that will increase their production and efficiency,” said the entity chaired by Miguel Pesce in a statement.
But while more foreign currency is released to acquire machinery, the Central tightened the pins of the stocks to another of the great routes of drainage of reserves during the summers: the tourism of Argentines with high purchasing power in other countries.
Specifically, the entity prohibited banks and other credit card issuers from financing purchases in installments of tickets abroad and other tourist services abroad (accommodation and car rental, among others).
Thus, unlike trips within the country, which can be paid with the Now 12 program, they will have to be paid in cash or financed through personal loans or the minimum of the card can be paid, which has a rate of 43% .
This decision seeks to eliminate the possibility of selling financed dollars to a sector that travels abroad in moments of shortage of reserves.
Is that, with the improvement in the health situation, the outflow of dollars for travel and ticket sales has increased in recent months and last September it reached its highest level since December 2019.