Thursday , February 25 2021

The BCRA will increase its bet to support the dollar by up to 50% in February

Source: Reuters

The Central Bank (BCRA) today decided to give itself the chance to increase its purchase interventions in the foreign exchange market by 50% in February to be better able to respond to the positive signs it sees in the peso demand and, as far as possible, avoid a currency appreciation that would have little benefit to an economy that has already set its domestic prices at a higher dollar parity.

The decision was adopted a few minutes ago by the Monetary Policy Committee (Copom), increasing from $ 50 million to $ 75 million the daily "self-allowed" total for those purchases that, according to the current monetary scheme, should be US $ 150 million per wheel if you wish) every time the wholesale dollar price is below the free floating zone, which went from $ 37.86 to $ 48.99 a day.

It was after a day in which the peso, along with the rest of the emerging currencies, deepened its revaluation trend, boosted by the signal the Federal Reserve (Fed) issued the day before yesterday, maintaining the reference rate of that economy. without changes (ranging from 2.25 to 2.5% per year).

But even more so because that body has admitted that it has no new up-to-date tweaks planned, and even at the time of evaluating them, it will be "prudent," a word it repeated 11 times in its statement. This indicates that the "premium" does not increase by staying in that currency, which led financial capitals to increase their positions in other currencies.

For that reason, the dollar price fell from $ 37.51 to $ 37.35 (0.45%) for the wholesale (and $ 38.57 to $ 38.27 for retail), despite of the BCRA have bought earlier. Another $ 50 million (after an indifferent intervention for $ 20 million the day before) at an average price of $ 38.09 and after reaching the mark – even after the official purchase – a minimum of $ 36.90.

From a level that recovered in the afternoon, when there was a rumor that it would increase its efforts to support it from tomorrow, although, for some analysts, it fell short of the general market context.

With this closing, the ticket remained 1.33% below the "floor" of the flotation band, even when the BCRA withdrew US $ 1,700 million from the circulation via Leliq (maturing securities for US $ 141.80 million and placing new ones for US $ 145 billion) and further accelerated the rate drop to 53.687%, almost 1.2 percentage points lower than the previous day.

Thus, this sensitive indicator, which puts floor at the expense of bank financing, accumulates a fall of more than 3 points in six days, was almost 2 points below the average of 55% that was expected to close January in the assumptions that gave rise to the last agreement with the IMF, and accumulated a fall of 557 basis points in January, which had begun at 59.25% a year.

With operations of its Debt in Liquidity Notes (Leliq), the BCRA absorbed a total of US $ 20,769 million in the month, while in parallel it expanded a similar amount through the purchase of dollars. "In the first three weeks of January, the company absorbed $ 134,767 million from Leliq and the last two weeks, expanding from $ 113,998 million," said financial advisor Jeremias Morlandi on Twitter.

The purchase of dollars, in the plan in force since the beginning of October, aims to improve mainly the supply of pesos.

During January, the BCRA carried out 13 auctions in which it acquired US $ 560 million, which increased its reserves, thus receiving genuine contributions, as they are now mostly composed of loans or reserves in private deposits. "As these purchases were made at an average value of US $ 37.28, they involved a US $ 20,876 million issue and helped soften the February Monetary Base target by 1.55%," explains economist Gabriel Caamaño Gómez , from the Ledesma Study.

That figure meant 77.3 percent of the quota that had been allowed to raise the WB (it set a ceiling of up to 2 percent, which meant about $ 680 million in purchases) during January.

Now, in order to adapt it to the greater number of interventions allowed, it has been established that it can validate an increase of up to 3% in the BM month (set for the month at US $ 1372 billion) for this route.

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