green noises

When the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, seemed to have under control the keyboard of the portfolio and the coordination with other directions, a decision of the Central Bank (BCRA) that the ministry considers unilateral -the prohibition so that those who used the soybean dollar can operate financial dollars-, complicated the panorama and made a loud noise with sectors of the countryside. In addition to revealing that there are still tensions between Economy and the body led by Miguel Pesce, which hit the markets negatively with the blue dollar reaching strong rises.

On Monday afternoon, the BCRA ruled that the field that had adhered to the exchange benefit of the “soybean dollar” was not going to be able to turn around and, with those pesos, operate with savings or financial dollars. Around 11:00 p.m. the same day, and after learning about it from the Central circular, Massa ordered that “the error be corrected immediately.” Thus, today the prohibition applies only to companies and not to individuals, and even the directors of these companies individually can access foreign currency, such is the commitment made and notified to the sector.

In any case, in the midst of this, sectors of the agricultural sector had already shouted to the heavens, appealing to an alleged betrayal by the Government to make them sell the harvest (because of the official need to have dollars) and then prohibit them from operating wherever they want with those pesos. An acted pose since, in addition, the majority was aware that such a measure could occur, previously notified by the Government. But the benefit of the soybean dollar of 200 pesos was so strong that not even the ban on companies going to the financial market stopped sales: yesterday, soybean producers delivered 650,000 tons worth 350,000 dollars to agro-exporters. A number equal to those of last week, when there were no exchange restrictions.

However, there was a negative effect: the internal turbulence of the Government over the issue transformed the day into a runaway for the blue dollar, which climbed almost 3.6 points and traded at 287 pesos (see page 2), the highest number in several weeks. The fact itself is the first mini-crisis that Massa faces in terms of handling the internal situation.

The germ of the measure

The history of these comings and goings, which he reconstructs here Page I12, started cooking in the middle of last week. The Government detected that, between Thursday and Friday, a group of cooperatives, agricultural companies and collectors that had used the soybean dollar, were overheating the parallel market with operations there. Specifically, they bought bonds to convert them into dollars via the sale of the same 48 hours after buying them, and thus seek some refuge for the pesos. The operation with the MEP dollar was majority and somewhat less in cash with liqui, which requires greater engineering. That annoyed the Government for two reasons: the first, that it had already granted them a benefit by giving them a dollar at 200 pesos; the second, that in the meetings that Massa held with the directors of the Liaison Table, he warned them that, if they went to the financial dollars with the pesos obtained from the soybean dollar, the Government was going to issue a circular to block their operations, and that this was going to reach companies and not individuals. Ergo, there should have been no surprises.

In this context, and seeing that there were a handful of firms that were doing what they knew should not be done, they began to think about the resolution, but not in the way it came out. “Instead of doing case by case, they excluded everyone,” complained a senior Treasury official, who already saw a dispute coming with a sector that, beyond the differences in the case, the Government needs to stabilize reserves in the short term. Close to Massa they affirm that there was never a question from Pesce about how to proceed, when in Economy they believed that the correct thing was to identify who had operated, isolate them, that the banks talk to their clients and offer them the benefit of access to special dollar accounts link and thus avoid an unnecessary fire for just some specific cases. And in the event that the move did not stop, take out the Resolution, excluding individuals, which was what Massa ended up doing.

A revival of the Guzmán era?

For some consulted by this newspaper, those hours revived Pesce’s tensions with the former Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, who before leaving requested the management of the BCRA’s money table as a gesture to manage the economy. They denied him, among other points, and he left. “It’s not that level of tension, but there are discomforts,” described someone who knows Massa and Pesce. For Economy, coordinated interaction with the BCRA is key to economic management.

There was already a previous clash between Massa and Pesce, a few days ago, which had less press: Economy and Agriculture did not agree with the regulations – which the BCRA held there – of raising the financing rate for producers who took the benefit of soy dollar. But it happened and the minister decided not to intervene.

This time, the decision was so careless that the Secretary of Agriculture, Juan José Bahillo, had to go out on different radios to whitewash that it had never been thought to prohibit producers from using those pesos in the financial dollar market. And he incidentally warned, as this newspaper advanced, that the benefit of the soybean dollar ends on September 30. In this scenario, and even knowing that Massa himself had warned them that this could happen, the Liaison Table complained of alleged betrayal via Nicolás Pino, the president of the Rural Society (SRA). The character in question, today politically demanded by the internal elections in the entity, went out to play hard anyway, so as not to give in to the most conservative pressures in the field. But the SRA sold.

three riddles

Thus, in this story there are three enigmas. The first, if there was a mischief of the Government in the decision. Why? The BCRA resolution came out the same day that President Alberto Fernández confirmed Pesce in office. And on the same day that the sales of soybean producers exceeded 9 million tons, which was the total official estimate for the month. Technically, it could be inferred that the Government had achieved the task. In fact today, with 10 days to go until the end of the soybean dollar, Massa has already obtained almost 4.6 billion dollars of the 5 billion that he had promised.

The second question is to see how the relationship between Economy and the BCRA continues. Initially, Massa wanted Lisandro Cleri, today deputy director of the Central, to be in the lead. But the President banked Pesce and the inclusion of Cleri as the “eyes” of the Tigrense does not seem to have paid off to avoid this noise with the resolution. Massa, like Guzmán then, believes that without the BCRA aligned, the scenario is complicated.

And the third enigma is what will happen to soy dollar sales in the remainder of the month. Yesterday, Gustavo Idigoras, president of the chamber of grain exporters CIARA-CEC, considered that “the BCRA measure is clearly going to have an effect on the flow of sales to exporters.” But Monday’s data seems to have changed the focus and sales are expected to remain firm.

Source: Pagina12

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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