Anything goes, in the green emergence of scarce reserves. And this is proven by the fact that, for not much more than a handful of dollars, the Government has assumed the risk and costs of putting noise where the noise is abundant and, in the same act, feeds uncertainties when it has entered discount time.
That implies the decision of these days that forces the provinces to use their own currencies or to seek financing at their cost to face 60% of the external debt, instead of the 100% that historically acquired in the Central Bank. The remaining 40% leaves the official exchange market, that is, the BCRA.
According to data from the consulting firm Aerarium, of the capital obligations that this year are due to the provinces, US$ 457.7 million fall during the second semester. And since this is the package on which 60% is applied, we are talking, then, that the Government would save US $ 274.6 million.
The substance of the matter does not change if instead of six months we say a year: little money, in the end, for a move that everyone reads in scarcity and reserve crisis mode. If you prefer, in hedging mode or taking positions in hard currencies: nothing that we do not know the right and the other way around.
A similar case in several senses and another proof of the rush appears in the soybean dollar plan 3, that is, in the decision to continue squeezing the same source of resources with the same method: grant the sector a higher exchange rate than the rest of the exports and take care of the difference. This time, 300 pesos and a difference of 42% during May.
There was another side of the move that also exposed the pressures facing the government. It was the decision to extend the validity of the regime until June and thus, with some last-minute addition, get the liquidation of foreign currency to pass the US $ 5,000 million that had been set as a goal.
The point is that, clean of dust and straw, of those 5,000 million and peak the Central Bank was left with about 28%, about 1,400 million. Evident to any operator, between interventions to curb parallel dollars, debt payments and import coverage, the BCRA was left with a mountain of dollars.
That same hole and certain maneuvers explain why the harvest of the soybean or agro plans in their three versions would have yielded a round zero to the BCRA. Or something worse than zero.
If the final result is measured by the state of net reserves, let's say available, there today we have a red up: around US $ 1,300 million below zero, according to some consultants. And a loss of US $ 2,000 million during the May of the soybean dollar 3.
Against this backdrop and his highly compromised political aspirations, one can understand why Sergio Massa rushed to Beijing, in search of whatever he could find to deal with the emergency. He obtained investments in strategic areas, in energy, infrastructure and transport and in other things that also interest China, such as Argentina stop blocking exports, a privilege seen through the whole picture.
In a sea of confusion about the changes in the yuan swap, in truth a loan in their currency to buy from them, it was difficult to find something as concrete and clear as a package of dollars of the so-called free availability that was, at last, what the economy minister had gone looking for.
Not for nothing the expectations of the financial world were placed there and, for the same reason, now the great doubt anchors in knowing if the China dollars that the officials proclaim are available to use as soon as possible. With reserves below zero and suspicions aroused by some juggling of the BCRA and uncertainty going around, that is a central fact.
An identical green objective encouraged the minister's management with Lula and the Development Bank that includes Brazil, China, Russia, Ireland and South Africa. Answer: the possibility of starting to deal with a loan to Argentina will be in August, which is like saying the long, long term for the urgencies of the Kirchner government.
There is still the possibility that, finally, the Monetary Fund will give free rein to a package of US $ 10,000 million that was due to arrive by April, together with an IMF team, and that apparently has been very delayed. Or, rather, hampered by a series of conditions that the agency raised and the Casa Rosada accepted as part of the agreement signed in March 2012: among them, a rigorous fiscal adjustment, eliminating the issuance and correcting the exchange rate, that is, devaluing.
Everything, plus a system of mandatory clauses that prevent the use of IMF dollars to intervene in the exchange market, that is, the firepower that Kirchnerism considers it will need in the obstacle course that will be on the way to the elections. From those associated with the candidacies and the first results to those derived from the swing of expectations that will be from day to day.
Says someone who follows the film from the beginning: "The Fund does not want to interfere in the political process or to be blamed for a government crash, but it must also take care that the dollars it lends to Argentina are not ripped and prevent the friends of power from hanging on to some important currency flight."
Anyway, there is what there is and there is no shortage of clouds.
To start somewhere, at the beginning of 2023 several yellow lights were lit pulling red ones that did not usually appear: in three of the first four months, INDEC statistics planted trade deficit. Obviously, they sang the same thing in the quarter.
And if it is true that the drought hit there, it is also true that the endless obstacles that the Government puts on imports hit the whole.
A good example of this moment appears in the automotive industry. Until 2021, imported cars largely dominated the domestic market and for years they came to account for 70% of sales. Now the ratio is 50-50, tie.
It is not a case of import substitution of those that Cristina caresses, but a direct relative of the emergency: closure of imports plain and simple and obstacles to the entry of auto parts that are not manufactured here. And it comes in continuous: sources of the sector have, right now, that the terminals are prohibited from entering cars from outside until next year and auto parts for 75 days.
And if something was missing in this panorama of lean currencies, we already have a fall in exports and one of those that express Argentina's decline like few things.
Measured by the quantities of goods sold, that is, excluding prices and their fluctuations, INDEC data say that we are 4.4% below 2007 and 6% behind 2011. That is, worse than fifteen years ago or eleven years ago.
Of that picture is also the strong, growing dependence on agricultural exports. And added, how time behaves, another of the variables that it is clear we do not handle.
Again the INDEC: between soybeans, by far the big star, corn and wheat today add sales abroad for US $ 39,000 million or 44% of the total. The so-called manufactures of industrial origin let's say pure mark US $ 23,000 million and 26%.
Apart from any assessment that may arise from these data, this is what has touched Kirchnerism and on this reality it must work, although obviously it is not responsible for everything. The same goes for those who succeed the current government, starting next December.