Men bought 59 percent more foreign exchange than women did in Argentina last year, according to figures released by the Central Bank, which noted that the difference was not only explained by the greater number of men who participated in the foreign exchange market.

Combining AFIP tax bureau statistics with its own, the Central Bank was able to differentiate data by gender and ages of the 3.5 million buyers of the equivalent of US$24.4 billion dollars, euros, Brazilian reales and other foreign exchange, and the 1.7 million people who sold the equivalent of US$ 5.9 billion to buy pesos.

1.6 million women bought a total of US$8.9 billion in 2017, against 1.9 million men who bought a total of US$15.5 billion, a difference of $US 6.6 billion.

Number of actors in Argentina foreign exchange market, men and women, 2018. Source: Central Bank
Number of actors in Argentina foreign exchange market by month, men and women, 2018. Source: Central Bank

The higher amounts of foreign exchange bought by men (both in terms of absolute values and on average) is explained in part by the Central Bank by the fact that women on average bought smaller amounts of dollars. As such, in the range of purchases of 0 to $1,500 over the whole year, women outnumbered men but there were more men than women in the group of purchases totaling more than US1,500 for the whole year. Tellingly, women made up 46 percent of all buyers and sellers in the market – but on average made smaller purchases.

On average, men bought US$5,000 in 2017 whereas women bought US$3,700, 35 percent less.

Average purchase of foreign exchange, by month, women and men, 2018. Source: Central Bank
Average purchase of foreign exchange, by month, women and men, 2018. Source: Central Bank

The analysis, by Max Davidson and Guillermo Trimarco of the Central Bank, notes that INDEC income figures for the third quarter of 2017 show that on average women’s incomes are 25 percent lower than men’s, and that with lower-skilled jobs the gap is greater. Furthermore, the female unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, more than two full percentage points more than male unemployment (7.3 percent).

Asking themselves if those differences had an impact on the exchange rate, the authors of the analysis noted that “every purchase and sale of foreign exchange, be it for speculation or savings, due to contexts of depreciation or inflation, is actually a sale or purchase of pesos.

It is thus logical to think that a difference in incomes between men and women would have an impact on the saving and investment behaviors of agents.”