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ECONOMY | 03-05-2023 12:44

Argentina's Central Bank reserves drop to lowest level since 2016

Central Bank reserves slump to their lowest level since October 2016 as institution plunders state coffers to defend struggling peso.

Argentina’s Central Bank reserves dropped to their lowest level yet of the Alberto Fernández administration, specialists said Tuesday.

The institution’s gross reserves were on the verge of dropping below US$35 billion, following heavy sales in April.

Net reserves, the real measure of the monetary authority, are almost at zero, if gold is not taken into account.

According to the Central Bank, reserves closed on Tuesday at US$35.078 million, after the monetary authority sold US$133 million, partly to pay for energy purchases.

To find a lower amount of gross international reserves, one has to go back more than six years, to October 11, 2016, when the monetary authority closed out the day with US$32.457 billion.

However, at that time, reserves were boosted within six days to exceed US$40 billion – Argentina’s holdings today are in decline, with the Central Bank continuing to defend the peso by selling foreign currency on the markets. 

Last month, the national currency retreated 13 percent on parallel markets to a record low. A historic drought is hurting key crop exports, exacerbating a shortage of foreign currency.

In addition, a scheduled payment to the International Monetary Fund, due this Thursday, looks set to take reserves to an even lower level.

Argentina and the IMF are discussing the possibility of bringing forward payments from the multilateral body ahead of October's presidential election.


– TIMES/NA/BLOOMBERG

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