Drought: Grain companies calculate dollar settlement to fall 75% in March compared to 2022

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The situation of net reserves, availablethat the Central Bank has available to meet the demand of importers who have already met all the requirements to sell them dollars at the official exchange rate, is increasingly compromised. Only so far this month has Central had to sell 871 million dollars. A portion of those dollars came from the (meager) reserves accumulated in BCRA accounts. And another part, even amidst the fierce drought, liquidations that cereal companies for the export of cereals.

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In any case, the contribution of the agro-export complex seems to be bad as february. Industry sources said so clarion that the grain companies are liquidating “to the a very similar pace in February”. I mean, very low.

Last month the complex, according to official CIARA-CEC data, was liquidated 644 million dollarsequal to a quarter of the $2.5 billion they had settled in February 2022.

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If the settlement rate arrives in March 2023 similar to February 2023, a settlement of between 800 and 850 million dollarsa dramatic drop from the $2.984 million the grain companies liquidated in March of last year.

The numbers make at least two things clear.

– The impact of drought will be brutal, as has been abundantly reported in recent days. The Cereal Market projections are increasingly bleak. The 22/23 campaign of the five major grains (soy, corn, wheat, sunflower and sorghum) is now projected to decrease by $21,000 million from the previous campaign.

– The “amnesty” granted by the International Monetary Fund by easing the reserve accumulation target has little bearing on reality. The important thing is not that less demanding goals have been achieved. The important thing is that the dollars are not there and there won’t be.

The market hopes that, in this scenario, the Ministry of the Economy will be forced to launch a “soy dollar 3” in a few days, in addition to further tighten the grip on imports.

Advisor Fernando Marull pointed out in his latest report that “with inflation not subsiding, the crawling peg continues, with the dollar depreciating by 5.6% per month in March. The BCRA continues to lose an average of $80 million a day, so net reserves decrease by $3.9 billion. In this sense, the IMF has pronounced itself in favor of changing the targets (it was March: 7.7 billion dollars and 2023: 12,000 million dollars) due to the impact of the greater drought, although it has not yet given precise numbers , nor did it recommend extraordinary measures. Nonetheless, new measures are expected around a new soybean dollar, regional economies, more disbursements or more inventories (SIRA).”

That the dollars will be missing comes as no surprise to anyone, of course. That is why the relative calmness of alternative dollars, which have closely followed the rate of devaluation of the official dollar this year, has been surprising.

This trend seems to have changed in recent days, mainly due to the acceleration of the Cash With Liquidation dollar’s rise. This dollar reached $403 and was up 10% in March, against an increase of just 3% in the official wholesale exchange rate. So far in 2023, the official dollar has risen 14.8% and liquid cash has risen 17.3%.

As reported in Saturday’s edition, the rally in financial dollars could indicate that there is more demand from companies resigned to the fact that they will not be able to buy dollars on the official market. And this, sooner or later, will end up being reflected in the prices set by these companies that pay the dollar almost double what it costs on the official market.

Source: Clarin

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