Escorted by Central Bank President Miguel Pesce and Maximo Kirchner, Sergio Massa's last activity in Shanghai before taking off for Beijing was an interview with Dilma Rousseff. The former president of Brazil received them in her role as head of the new bank of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) baptized as the New Development Bank.
"Sergio, I have good news, I found the shortcut. The Board of Directors agrees to add Argentina to the bank. It's going to be announced at the August assembly in South Africa," Rousseff greeted him at the bank's imposing headquarters in Pudon, Shanghai's skyscraper district considered China's financial capital.
Massa expectedquick disbursements and August is far away in the face of the drought of dollars in the Argentine economy. Now it will be able to access different lines of loans but if it is given, it will surprise the Government in the middle of the PASO.
The bank has large lending capacity with a capital of US $ 50,000 million that will expand to US $ 100,000 million shortly.
Argentina, according to sources very close to the minister, has already secured the approval of the board. The entry will be together with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Zimbabwe.
To be a member of that bank, the four new members are required to have US$ 1,000 million. Argentina has US$ 250 million that will be integrated with sovereign debt bonds in dollars. In Economy they assure that they have bonds in dollars for US $ 40,000 million distributed in the ANSES Fund, the Central Bank and the National Treasury.
When Sergio Massa decided to turn to the BRICS bank, he did so based on the need for foreign currency to face an election year in which he proposed not to devalue the official one so as not to throw more fire to inflation.
In principle, when Lula became president of Brazil, Alberto Fernández came up with the idea of turning to the main trading partner as a lender of last resort to strengthen reserves.
He did not count on the fact that the Brazilian was going to keep Roberto Campos Neto in the Central Bank, who closed the door to that possibility. Itdid occur to them to turn to the BRICS bank.
Another alternative was based on this new entity extending a loan to Argentina, something that is not contemplated in its statutes that maintain that the bank can help in case of reserve crises, but only to the members. Then they thought that Brazil would put guarantees on a loan for Argentina and it could not be either.
First it was Lula who warned that it was not going to be possible. Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad did not attend the bank's board of governors in that refusal. In that way it occurred to them that Brasil increase its capital in the bank and thus that money could be allocated to Argentina, something that has already happened between South Africa and several African countries. India also assisted Bangladesh with this method.
The latter possibility seemed headed this week. Until Dilma found her way out. A statement from the BRICS bank announcing the news is expected in Argentina in a few hours.
Sources of the Argentine delegation were satisfied yesterday with the result while they followed the quotes of the dollars in Buenos Aires from their cell phones. And one of those members very close to the minister blurted out: "Sergio wanted to tell Alberto, but they are crossed, the president was just on his way to Bolivia, which went to inaugurate an electric pipeline," he released in a clear sign of the tension that exists between the Economy Ministry and the Casa Rosada.
The presence of Máximo Kirchner at the meeting was explained by the relationship that exists between Dilma Rousseff and Cristina Kirchner. They talked alone for a while, it transpired.
From the beginning Massa argued that his bet on the BRICS bank would be based on a single pillar: how to finance exports from Brazil, which is our main trading partner and whichin these years managed to multiply its turnover in a trade that is deficit in US $ 2,250 million. for Argentina in 2022. And he played in that negotiation with the fact that it is not a minor fact what the replacement of those goods from Brazil by China could imply.
This Friday Massa is excited about the announcement of the renewal of the swaps for US $ 18,000 million and the extension within that package of US $ 5,000 to 8,000 million the possibility of using these currencies to intervene in the exchange market.
Beijing, Special Envoy