Argentina prepares to restrict imports due to currency shortage – source

A homeless man sleeps on the street in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

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BUENOS AIRES, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Argentina’s government will launch three measures in the coming days aimed at restricting imports and preserving the central bank’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves, a source told Reuters on Tuesday.

The measures come as new data on Monday showed a trade deficit in July of $437 million, the second straight deficit for Latin America’s third-largest economy.

“More fluid coordination is needed between (Argentina’s tax collection entity) AFIP, Customs and Commerce, with measures to order imports, take care of Argentina’s central bank dollars and avoid abuse,” said the source, who asked not to be identified.

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Argentina’s exports in the first seven months of the year increased by 22.4% compared to the same period in 2021, while imports jumped by 44.6%.

One of the measures aims to speed up exports by reducing delays for those who import goods without paying taxes. The measure will reduce the export time of goods to 120 days from 360.

This is the case with soybeans, which are imported and then exported in the form of oil.

The 115% gap between the official exchange rate used in foreign trade and the exchange rates of alternative markets encourages importers to increase their purchases abroad, while exporters delay their payments while waiting for a further drop in the peso.

The government is also considering bringing companies that import services such as software or consulting services into an advance declaration system.

In the first half of the year, Argentina imported services worth $5 billion.

The administration of President Alberto Fernandez will also seek to curb imports of 34 goods, including slot machines, yachts, luxury planes and cryptocurrency mining machines, by incorporating them into an unlicensed regime. automatic, which requires prior authorization.

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Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Additional reporting by Jorge Otaola Editing by Marguerita Choy

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