After the 5.1% inflation in December reported by the INDEC, and as expected by the market, the Central Bank decided this Thursday to wait again to make changes to its monetary policy. The agency preferred to keep the Leliq rate unchanged at 75% per annumin a climate of tension on underlying exchange rates and with various future challenges, above all on the front of debt in pesos.
This was underlined in a statement by the board of directors of the organization chaired by Miguel Pesce “will continue to act with prudence” before the evolution of inflation. It’s a lauded decision: Many have warned of the risks of embarking on a rapid path to lower rates. Even the Ministry of Economy has suggested to the central banker to “wait” to maintain the attractiveness of instruments in pesos.
“The monetary authority believes that keeping the reference rate unchanged will contribute to the gradual deceleration of inflation in the medium term, consolidate financial and currency stability”, highlighted the official communication of the Central.
With inflation at 5.1% and the Leliq rate pegged at 75%, the real premium for placements is 13.8% per annum. slightly lower than that achieved last month, but quite attractive. “The calibration of interest rates in positive territory in real terms guarantees the protection of savings in pesos and helps to keep exchange rate expectations anchored, favoring the disinflation process”, observes the agency.
This strategy of the Central has two aspects: on the one hand it aims at maintain the currency gap, in a context of slight but persistent renewed interest by savers in converting into dollars. But for another, maintains the attractiveness of discounted bills (Ledes) in tenders in the local debt market, where the Treasury faces large maturities until March.
Monetary policy decisions are not taken just by looking in the rear-view mirror: if it is true that inflation in the last two months of 2022 managed to slow down to around 5% per month, January is a month that raises a possible overheating of priceswith expected increases in regulated and food prices, in addition to seasonal increases.
Even with a business that has already started showing signs of cooling down and with the credit that plummeted 20% last year, the high-rate policy will continue for a while longer.
Charles Arterburn is a seasoned business journalist for News Rebeat, where he provides comprehensive coverage of the latest trends and developments in the world of finance and economics.