In a rough session for local finance, the informal dollar has jumped by 7% during the day, and the currency exchange gap (brecha) exceeded 120%.
The informal dollar exchange rate, known as the blue dollar, peaked at AR$497 before receding slightly following statements from Economy Minister Sergio Massa.
The exchange gap is the difference between the official dollar exchange rate and the financial or informal (blue) dollars. The gap is important because many economic agents use the value of financial dollars as parameters to set their costs and prices.
The run on the parallel rates comes as the country faces acute dollar scarcity: after a drought cut billions of dollars from Argentina’s export income and international reserves, Massa announced a third edition of the special exchange rate for agricultural exporters earlier this month with a view to bolstering reserves.
However, amid rumors of an official currency devaluation, exporters have significantly slowed their sales despite the preferential exchange rate last week, and did not liquidate any of their income in the official exchange market last Wednesday, putting pressure on the rate.
The rise also follows weeks of great political and economic uncertainty, sparked by factors such as President Alberto Fernández announcing he would not run for re-election, the rise of debates around the dollarization of the Argentine economy sparked by libertarian candidate Javier Milei, a 7.7% monthly inflation rate in March and the government missing the fiscal deficit target agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In a press conference following a meeting with his Romanian counterpart this morning, President Alberto Fernández accused “the Argentine right” of “installing rumors” that are affecting the exchange markets, “harming Argentines’ savings”.
“It’s not news, they’ve always done this,” said Fernández, who later wrote a Twitter thread to reflect his statements. “We’ve lived through this already and we’ll overcome it again. […] Sergio Massa and I are working together to face this scenario.”
Massa published a thread about the rise of the informal dollar, saying that “an atypical situation involving rumors, versions, fake reports” had “an impact on financial instruments related to the US dollar”.
“We will use all of the State’s tools to get this situation together, we’ve notified the IMF of the restrictions that affected Argentina, and which we will change in the re-negotiation of our agreement,”
“We will maintain our agreements with multilateral organisms, keep working with exporters by transforming exports into [Chinese] yuan, and the IMF disbursement agreement to strengthen bank reserves that were hindered by the impact of the drought,” he ended.