Update: Before the start of trading today the Central Bank has announced a third interest rate hike in a week, raising the benchmark rate by 675 basis to 40 percent.
Prior to the first hike a week ago, the benchmark annual interest rate was 27.25 percent.
The increase comes amid sustained pressure against the peso that saw it lose just shy of 7 percent of its value yesterday. The exchange rate was 22.99 pesos to the US dollar yesterday, a new record.
A second interest rate hike in a week wasn’t enough to stop the peso from losing ground against the US dollar for the ninth consecutive day, closing trading just shy of 23 pesos to the dollar, according to the averages calculated by the Central Bank.
Despite the Central Bank’s decision to raise interest rates by another 300 basis points today to 33.25 percent, the greenback appreciated by 6.83 percent against the peso today, ending the day at 22.99 pesos to the US dollar. Today’s slide is the biggest in 2018, which has seen an overall depreciation for the peso of 22.48 percent so far this year.
The peso had already lost 3 percent yesterday, settling on 21.52 and more than US $500 million in sales by the Central Bank. Estimates suggest that another US $500 million was sold today. In April the BCRA’s foreign reserves shrank by 8 percent, from US $61.548 billion to US $56.617 billion as the monetary authority has sought to prop up the peso.
According to La Nación, a late order for US $500 million may not have affected the rates seen by consumers today. That rate will likely show up tomorrow.
In contrast to other days, there was a great deal of variation in the exchange rates offered by commercial banks, ranging from 22.25 pesos at the minimum, to a maximum of 23.30 pesos for one US a dollar.