In the wholesale segment, the US currency starts the first round of the month at $ 90.08, always under the watchful eye of the Central Bank (BCRA)
ANDThe blue dollar is trading this Monday at $ 146 in the selling point, in caves of the Buenos Aires microcenter.
Investors, meanwhile, are closely watching stock prices.
The dollar counted with clearance It is trading at $ 148.11.
For his part, Dollar Stock Exchange, or MEP, is around $ 143.84.
As noted above, the Dolar blue is offered to $ 146 in caves of downtown Buenos Aires.
In turn, in the wholesale segment, the US currency starts the first round of the month at $ 90.08, always under the watchful eye of the Central Bank (BCRA).
At official retail market, the North American currency operates at an average of $ 95.51 in agencies and banks of the city of Buenos Aires, so the saving dollar, which is calculated with the surcharge of 30% of the PAÍS tax plus 35% of the income tax, sells for around $ 157.59.
According to the usual survey carried out by the central bank Among the main financial entities that operated in the City, these are the sale prices of the official retail dollar:
– Galicia: $ 96.10
– Nation: $ 94.50
– Santander: $ 96
– Patagonia: $ 95.50
– Macro: $ 95
– Itaú: $ 95.60
The Dolar blue, which is sold at $ 146, does not have an official price, but its value leaves the average price in places of unofficial exchange.
For his part, Argentina country risk stands at 1,523 basis points.
March, key month for the blue dollar: does the Government have the weapons to keep it at bay?
Contrary to what everyone points out as “what always happens in Argentina”, the blue dollar had a very long period in which it did not stop falling. And although this Friday it rebounded a few pesos, it is still too early to talk about a trend reversal.
From October 2020, when it reached $ 195, to $ 143, there was a long downhill run, largely due to a de-dollarization of various sectors of the population to go out to cover current expenses and of the owners of large fortunes to cover the Extraordinary Contribution.
However, looking ahead, experts wonder how long this trend will continue.
“In the coming months, the official exchange rate is going to be calm, but it is likely that the parallel move a little so that the gap I know will expand to some extent “, anticipates Matías Rajnerman, chief economist at Ecolatina.
The economist Candelaria Botto, meanwhile, agrees that “this won’t last in the long run, but the current value (pesos more, pesos less) will work as floor for a future upward trend “, given that these are historical lows for the parallel, taking into account not the nominal value, but the relative value with respect to the official exchange rate.
The truth is that, at this time, the downward behavior of the illegal foreign exchange market is very beneficial for the Government and contributes to economic calm for three central reasons:
1. Avoid devaluation pressures
“If the blue is lower than the solidarity, it is clear that it is not necessary to devalue,” he points out to iProfessional the economist Candelaria Botto.
In the same sense, Joel Lupieri, from Epyca Consultores, points out that “the fact that the parallel dollar is low or declining discourages dollarization and hysteria that the expectations of devaluation generate in a large part of the investors. “He maintains that a quiet dollar, in Argentina, is interpreted as an omen of a moment of recovery in the economy.
Rajnerman shares this view when he comments that, “if there is less gap, people do not expect the dollar to rise because the parallel is lower and this, in turn, generates a sense of calm in the economy due to expectations.”
two. Favors less speculation
Of course, the drop in the devaluation expectation is always good news, but above all it is in the current context in which, as Botto points out, “in March, The liquidation of the harvest begins to take place and the export sectors will always press for a higher exchange rate to settle better “.
Rajnerman also focuses on this point, since he comments that “as the parallel is calm, there is less incentive to generate some kind of rebound effect from the liquidation of commodities in the official dollar. ”
Thus, he comments that a disincentive effect in exporters for take spot of the officer and take them to the parallel, a maneuver that – he warns – is illegal, but that, “when the incentive is very great, some are willing to do despite the legal risks.”
The BCRA has an opportunity to recover reserves thanks to the decline in the dollar.
3. Allows the BCRA to increase reserves
Another important element is the income of dollars to the coffers of the Central Bank. A few months ago they said in the corridors of the entity that, if the soybeans exceeded US $ 500, it was to celebrate because many dollars from the liquidation were going to come in, which would help recover the reserves. Indeed, at present, this situation is occurring and, on top of that, it is accompanied by a decline in the US currency.
“As long as the gap between the official and the parallel decreases, it is good for the BCRA to be able to make reserves, which today are not very bulky. The most complicated thing for the entity this year was to spend January and February, which are usually tough months, because the liquidation of the harvests begins in March, which favors the entry of dollars into the country, “Botto details in this regard.
Given this scenario, it is already beginning to be noticed that, after the announcements by the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, that the exchange rate is going to be stepped on a bit, as is usually done in electoral years, investors are going to tools more tied to CER Yet the inflation and they move away, even if not temporarily, from the blue.
At some point, given the uncertainty of what may happen, the blue could begin to rise.
The weapons that can be used to control the blue dollar
If things happen as the experts anticipate and this downward pressure on the blue begins to ease at some point, the Government will have to resort to the most effective tools to try to keep it low, which according to analysts are basically four:
1. Raise the interest rate
Rajnerman and Lupieri point out that a very common strategy would be “to raise interest rates, a fact that would attract small investors to placements in pesos and not turn to blue”, but the Ecolatina economist points out that “the Government does not seem willing to take that path “ because, as his colleague from Epyca points out, “he is afraid of cooling the tepid recovery that economic activity has begun to show,” since he considers that raising financial rates discourages productive investment.
2. Increase controls
“Another option is to continue betting on an old cocktail: control and pressure,” says Lupieri, for his part. However, Rajnerman points out that It is very difficult to enforce controls on the blue market because it is a market that is not regulated and that is managed by supply and demand.
3. Control the fiscal deficit
Claudio Caprarulo, principal economist at Consultora Analytica, highlights that “the government is making a fiscal effort to show a more sustainable path vis-à-vis its creditors, for example, even in an economy marked by the effects of the pandemic and going through a very deep crisis, it managed to have a primary surplus in January. ”
4. Open market operations
Meanwhile, Francisco Mattig, Fixed Income strategist at Consultatio Financial Services, points out that, if from now on the gap overheats and begins to suffer pressure (which would also boost blue), “the BCRA can continue to carry out open market (sell your bonds against pesos and buy them back against dollars) to keep the gap under control. ”
However, he warns that this can continue to be done “as long as it continues to buy dollars in the Single Exchange Market (MULC), because if not, it will run out of reserves.”
There was a trend towards de-dollarization to meet expenses by various actors in society.
All four measures seem difficult to implement. For the moment, the focus is on the accumulation of reserves, the fiscal adjustment and the control of the exchange market through a rise managed and controlled by the official, but accompanied by the incentive to carry out operations with financial exchange rates.
However, Caprarulo assures that “the market discounts that there are still no changes in expectations that allow estimating that the exchange rate is here to stay.”
He points out that this is mainly due to the fact that there is still no agreement with the IMF and today the necessary accumulation of reserves that Argentina has to make from now on to face its debts in dollars seems like a very difficult objective to achieve.
Thus, as anticipated by Botto, “It will be necessary to see how all this works in the framework of the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, which generates uncertainty and doubts and in those uncertain scenarios, people usually always resort to dollar What refuge infallible”.
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