December 13, 2013
‘Blue’ dollar breaks 10-peso mark
The so-called “blue” or “illegal dollar” broke the key psychological barrier of 10 pesos yesterday, closing at 10.05, an increase of 1.82 percent. The US currency increased its value 15 cents compared to Monday and widened the gap with the official dollar, which was sold yesterday at 5.87 pesos, to 71.72 percent.
The strengthening of the tiny parallel exchange market so close to Sunday’s midterm vote gave rise to speculation about possible political motives behind the increase.
Some government officials blamed the media for publishing the prices of an illegal market.
Government officials reportedly monitored the situation at exchange houses throughout the day and described the parallel market as “calm,” according to CNV securities regulator chief Alejandro Vanoli, who said people panicked because the media placed too much emphasis on what was, in reality, an insignificant market.
“There is a fake country and a real country. Media represent the interests of the right, and seek to cause disturbance among the population ahead of the elections,” Vanoli added, before stressing: “They are announcing the price of an illegal dollar, which is the same as publishing cocaine prices.”
The only time the illegal market reached such values as yesterday was on May 8 when it closed at 10.45 pesos. Last week, the “blue” dollar rose in value by 16 cents.
“There is absolute calm in the exchange market,” Vanoli said. “The CNV together with other agencies, such as the Domestic Trade secretariat, the central bank and Procelac are carrying out inspections on the black market, where there are almost no operations.”
Juan Pablo Paillot, head of the Exchange Brokers Association, agreed with Vanoli and said the number of operations was low due to widespread anticipation regarding Sunday’s legislative elections.
“The volume of operations in the market is really low. The general feeling is that it has stopped. People prefer to wait until after the elections to carry out any operations, as has been the case in the past,” Paillot said. “Some media companies are publishing articles that don’t reflect the reality of the market. They are exaggerating this situation, and who knows with what objective.”
Lawmaker Roberto Feletti of the ruling Victory Front (FpV), head of the Budget and Treasury committee, said yesterday the foreign currency limits “only affect 12 percent of the population,” adding that it was an appropriate mechanism to solve the dollar shortage.
“Every time there was a lack of dollars, austerity measures were applied on all Argentines such as devaluation or the reduction of public expenditures,” he said. “But now the government didn’t take that option and decided to limit the purchase of foreign currency for saving, a measure that only affects 12 percent of the population even as some say it affects everybody.”
The central bank sold US$40 million in the official foreign exchange market yesterday, less than half the US$100 million sold Monday.
The Merval benchmark stock closed yesterday at 5616.31 units, with a 0.81 percent drop due to profit taking from investors after the record raises registered over the last few months.
The most important drops were registered by Banco Francés (4.30 percent), YPF (4.23 percent), Edenor (4.09 percent) and Banco Macro (3.97 percent). But there were also marked increases in the shares of Petrobras Energía (9.64 percent), Tenaris (2.55 percent) and Aluar (3.23 percent).
Herald with DyN,Télam