According to the report “Evolution of the Exchange Market and Exchange Balance” provided by the agency, it can be seen that the implementation of the measure favored the Central Bank can reduce by half (-50%) the number of people who made foreign currency for hoarding compared to the worst moment of the run towards the dollar in June 2022, after the departure of Martín Guzmán.
The data indicates that of the 1.4 million people who purchased foreign currency in June 2022, the number fell to 727,000 people according to data from January 2023. If the month prior to the measure and the month after the measure are observed, the decrease is almost 40%. In September 2022, even with the new resolution halfway through the month, 1 million people bought currency. Already in October, there were 619,000 people.
And if the outflow of dollars is observed? In September 2022, where the subsidy measure has not yet taken full effect, 191 million were acquired in the exchange market. Meanwhile in October, the figure dropped to 117 million. This allows us to reach the following conclusions:
- The implementation of the measure allowed the BCRA to lower the number of people who bought dollars to similar levels last year or lower them, in some cases, by up to 40% by adding a new restriction.
– September 2021/September 2022: 746 thousand individuals vs 1 million.
– October 2021/2022: 762 thousand vs 619 thousand
– November 2021/2022: 926 thousand vs 575 thousand.
– December 2021/2022: 907 thousand vs 662 thousand.
- Despite the fact that this measure allowed a considerable decrease in the number of people who access the exchange market for hoarding, the Central Bank could not prevent an upward trend of buying savings dollars. Although it falls in year-on-year terms, if we look at the monthly series from September to January 2023, the number of people continues to rise, except for one month.
– October 2022: 619 thousand individuals bought tickets.
– November 2022: 575 thousand
– December 2022: 662 thousand
– January 2023: 727 thousand
In addition, it can be seen that the buying trend increases when there is tension in the exchange market, except in the month of November when the blue rose 8.2%, but nevertheless the number of people who bought savings dollars was lower. The trend changed in December 2022 and in January 2023 when the informal increased 10%.
Lowering of subsidies: what happened with the purchase of dollars?
According to inquiries made to two brokerage firms, since the Government’s measure became effective on September 15, 2022, a 35% increase in trading volume. But it was not the only thing: “when there are abrupt movements in the dollar, more accounts are opened, more MEP is operated,” they revealed with Ámbito. This makes it clear that the purchase of the dollar never gave way, but turned towards other channels. In line with this movement, the parallel dollars rose in price.
The Economist Frederick Glustein, when asked by Ambit, pointed out that the savings dollar continues to be important for the monetary authority: “its importance is high given that it continues to be a constant source of currency outflows from the system to the buffer or even, many times to mash the difference between the savings quote and the blue. However, it is true that the most important expense for the BCRA is the expense for cards for consumption by non-resident suppliers, which, in January 2023, reached US$374 million, while for hoarding the net amount was US$139 million.
“Control of human persons to hoarding could be controlled but spending with cards is more difficult, since they are difficult to prohibit”he claimed.
Dollar savings: balance of the measure and what is expected for 2023
Almost six months after the implementation and taking into account the current price of the parallel dollarsGlustein indicated: “the maintenance of the blue dollar and the MEP in a zone of $360/$380 in the price allows agents who want to make a strong purchase of currencies not to lean towards saving to migrate towards the parallel and financial ones, for what , If this continuesthe valuations could be evened out and fewer would acquire the saving dollar”.
“From my point of view, I believe that the more than 700,000 people who acquire foreign currency for hoarding is controllable in that the number of buyers will hardly grow due to the strong restrictions, but Regarding the outflow of foreign currency, it is not convenient, and even less in a context of drought where around 15 billion dollars will be lost in 2023 and, in turn, the economy could fall by at least 1% in the year “, he claimed.
“The reality is that it was convenient for the BCRA to strongly restrict purchases of dollars by human beings because they were a permanent source of expenditure. However, the blockades were more than expected, which made the blue and financial prices rise, generating various distortions. Then the “Qatar dollar” was implemented because it was not enough with the card dollar, therefore, from public policy is incomplete, a patch that served to cover up messes product of economic policyGlustein concluded.