The peso had another turbulent day today, closing at 23.73 after blowing past the symbolic floor of 24 earlier during trading.
As such, the peso fell 2.2 percent against the US dollar today, ending another bruising week that saw it slide 6.5 percent. The peso, comfortably among the worst-performing currencies in 2018, has depreciated by 26.4 percent in the year to date.
The volatility at the end of the week comes after Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne’s flash trip to Washington DC to meet with International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials and sustained interventions in the foreign exchange market by the Central Bank (BCRA).
President Mauricio Macri is scheduled to have a Cabinet meeting today at the presidential residence in Olivos with ministers that have an economic portfolio. The president was scheduled to meet with business leaders before speaking to his ministers. In the midst of the currency foreign exchange crisis, the government has already secured a commitment from gasoline producers to freeze prices for 60 days.
In a repeat of the volatility that accompanied trading on Tuesday – when the Macri administration first announced that it was going to speak to the IMF – exchange rate fluctuated wildly today. After closing at 23.22 yesterday, the BCRA weighted average at 1 PM was well over 24 pesos to the greenback for the first time. The final rate, 23.73, was nonetheless a record.
Financial newspapers El Cronista Comercial and Ámbito Financiero have both reported that the BCRA was particularly active in the foreign exchange markets, with both estimated that the monetary authority sold US $1.2 billion to force the exchange rate below 24. The official estimate of BCRA foreign reserves has not yet been published, but as of yesterday they were at US $56.322 billion, down 1.2 percent on the previous close.
On Tuesday of next week approximately US $28 billion (AR $670 billion) in LEBACs – short-term debt issued by the BCRA – will expire and there has been some concerns about whether or not investors will roll over their debt for another period. According to Ámbito, the large investors like the ANSES social security agency and banks are expected to roll over the debt, but it remains to be seen what small-scale investors and investment banks decide to do.