Since the cards settle in the official market (at about $160), the Government’s idea is that they do so in the financial market (today above $290). Currently, only 15% of tourist spending is done this way, and the intention is to capture part of the remaining 85% in the financial system. This could serve to bridge the gap between financial and official dollars, they consider in the dispatches. The foreign currency entered will no longer go into net reserves, although they will indirectly impact gross reserves (via deposits).
It will be the third measure in the last year that seeks to capture the dollars of receptive tourism, amid the messages that go viral on social networks of tourists who pay with dozens of cash bills. In the last 12 months, despite the growth in the arrival of travelers in the post-pandemic, barely US$400 million entered through this route. While the deficit in the tourist balance in the last year climbed to US$6,300, according to data provided by Santiago Manoukian, economist at Ecolatina.
The first was the creation of special bank accounts for foreign tourists, announced exactly one year ago, with no impact. Then came the measure promoted by Silvia Batakis during her brief visit to the Palacio de Hacienda, whereby tourists can go to banks and exchange their dollars at the value of the stock dollar. This initiative did not take off either: only Banco Nación implemented this option in its branches.
Now, the idea is to offer tourists a mechanism so that their purchases with debit and credit cards are computed at the value of the MEP dollar, instead of the official dollar. In the financial sector they are still skeptical about the effectiveness of the measure.
One of the main questions about the measures is whether it will be possible to convince tourists to choose electronic means of payment, when many businesses and even hotels offer them an attractive price to exchange their dollars and reais for pesos. But the doubts increase especially when Almost three weeks ago the “Qatar dollar” was announced but neither banks nor fintech wallets have been able to fully implement the new scheme.