The BCRA was able to buy a few dollars for the Thanksgiving celebration: how will the reserves end in November?

It maintains a negative balance in the official market of around US$900 million for the month. The market explains what elements played in its favor. Coming?

By Pilar Wolffelt

11/23/2022 – 9:10 p.m.

The BCRA was able to buy a few dollars for the Thanksgiving celebration: how will the reserves end in November?

This Wednesday, the Central Bank (BCRA) He bought dollars again, although in a meager way: he only managed to pocket US$3 million in the day and, thus, it maintains the negative balance for the month in the official exchange market (MULC) at around US$910 million for the moment, a level similar to that registered in the entire eleventh month of last year and almost double than in October 2022.

As explained by the economist Federico Glustein, the Central managed to buy thanks to “a mix between higher exports and less activity due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States”, which is held this Thursday, November 24. These conditions led to a little more than US$270 million being traded in the official market today and, as there was less activity from importers, the output slowed down and it was possible for the BCRA to absorb dollars.

BCRA reserves: how it was able to maintain the negative balance

However, for EcoGo economist Juan Pablo Albornoz, that number “does not represent a substantially higher volume traded than at any other time“. It indicates that last week US$256 million per day were operated in the Open Electronic Market (MAE), so the number for this Wednesday is barely 6% more. “It is a marginal increase, just like the bag of BCRA”, he evaluates.

And, on the other hand, he maintains that the liquidation of agriculture is also still low. Consequently, he thinks that what is seen “is more of a shift in importers, of the demand for dollars, than an increase in supply.”

Thus, Albornoz indicates that the fact that the BCRA has bought US$3 million is thanks to a lower volume of imports, partly due to the holiday in the United States, surely, but also due to the drop in energy demand, as well as due to the greater control carried out by the Government since the SIRA System was implemented.

The Government blocks imports to catch dollars

In fact, the former Secretary of Imports of the Nation and adviser on foreign trade Esteban Marzorati points out that “The import approval process has been very stuck in recent times“. It describes that financing is very restricted and that, a few weeks after the SIRA was approved, the approval of automatic and non-automatic licenses comes with great difficulty and delay.

The BCRA further restricted imports since the implementation of the SIRA.

The BCRA further restricted imports since the implementation of the SIRA.

Consequently, as Glustein assesses, probably The purchase of this Wednesday “is something of the day, which and does not rule out that it will change shortly when the demands for dollars for imports and tourism are reactivated”. This, as he mentions, could be combined with an increase in the purchase of dollars for savings, which occurs around December with the Christmas bonus, but also for travel and tourism, after the increase in the price of the dollar card.

And he also mentions that the fact that the upcoming Treasury tenders may not be successful, as has been seen in the latest Economy calls, will also put pressure on the exchange market and this could generate a greater demand for foreign currency because those pesos that do not go to bonds could go towards the dollar.

BCRA dollars: what is coming

For now, tomorrow, Thursday, there could be another day of shopping because it will be a holiday in the United States and everything would indicate that the BCRA could end the week without a large loss of reserves, but what is worrying is that it already has losses of US$1.5 billion between October and November. It is estimated that will end the month with sales of around US$1.1 billion. In December, wheat dollars could come in, but weather conditions keep expectations low. And then summer comes, a time that is usually difficult for the BCRA’s reserves.

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