The lack of dollars is accentuated by the historical drought that affects the agricultural sector. Based on IMF criteria, the stock of net reserves of the Central Bank is US$2.7 billion, the goal agreed for March is US$7.8 billion, and only so far this year the Central Bank has accumulated sales of more than US$ 1,100 millionas analyzed by the economist Santiago Manoukian, from Ecolatina.
The issue is closely followed by the industrial sector, which needs dollars for production. In the latest industrial news report, published this Thursday, the UIA assured: “There is concern about the restrictions on access to foreign currency throughout 2023, added to the lower currency settlement that is expected as a result of the impact of the drought and the early settlement during the two versions of the export increase program”. In addition, the manufacturing center reported that in the last quarter of 2022, since the new SIRA system came into effect, imports fell 14.2% against the previous quarter.
The projections of the consultancies, and the industrial fear, is that the context derives in greater restrictions on imports. Even more so after January began with a trade deficit of US$484 million. After December ended with the lowest import data of 2022 (USD 5,017 million), January began with 5,384 million, barely 2.5% above the previous year. However, before consulting this newspaper, sources close to the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, ruled out new changes in the system.
“The SIRA will remain the same, the numbers of imports and exports for now are those of the 2023 budget, an evaluation could not be made with the data of a single month, you have to let 2 quarters go by to do a new analysis, more later of energy savings of more than US$ 2,000 million”, explained an official source.
However, measures will be intensified to avoid all kinds of arbitrage that occurs on an exchange rate gap of almost 100%. On the one hand, they are investigating whether there are more people involved for being “false managers” and asking for money in exchange for approval of the SIRA licenses.
On the other hand, during the next few days, Customs will announce that the amount of precautionary measures, which amounted to US$2.6 billion, was practically zero, after textile companies for more than US$230 million withdrew.
In addition, in Customs they will continue with the complaints about over and under-invoicing, but this time with more data. In Economy, Customs and the UIF have a reserved report from the United States of Argentine companies that carried out import over-invoicing maneuvers, and that part of the triangulation was done with an account in that country. The report will be provided in court cases. “If the financial transaction touches an American bank, the justice of that country intervenes,” explained an official source. Currently there are 7 cases that were brought to the local courts, with the data of the companies, their owners and attorneys.
In any case, they clarified that they are shipments that do not occur within the framework of the automatic exchange of information, Fatca. In that case, there are currently “en bloc” requests to suspicious Argentines for undeclared money. The latest news that AFIP received from the US treasury is that instead of sending data “one by one” they will be able to send lots of about 200 people, and the information will be exchanged no later than a month.