There are other estimates that even place the situation of the BCRA in an even more fragile situation. Julia Segoviano, an economist at the consulting firm LCG, indicated: “Our calculations are around US $ 9.8 billion. They are low: I am not saying that they are at critical or minimum levels, because in 2015 they have reached negative levels ”.
For its part, Federico Broggi, of the broker Invertir en Bolsa, indicated that, according to its estimates, net reserves are at u $ s9,330 million. But he clarified: “The traditional calculation of net reserves assumes that the swap with China cannot be used, when nowhere does it say that. In fact, Martín Redrado (who initiated the swap) more than once said that it can be used. Furthermore, it assumes that private deposits cannot be used when there have already been cases in which they were used. When Sturzenegger arrived at the BCRA it is estimated that half had been used ”.
However, Broggi warned: “Assets have to be measured against liabilities. And the concern must come from here: total reserves remain stable, while liabilities do not stop rising ”.
Meanwhile, the calculations of the consulting firm Ecolatina are a little closer to ACM’s estimates: US $ 10,500 million. In this regard, Federico Moll, director of this firm, indicated: “It is a different situation from 2015, because at that time there was an extremely high official exchange rate and the only way out was an exchange rate jump. In this case, it doesn’t seem like the obvious way out. The Central loses reserves because there is a very large gap against the parallel. It would be necessary to think about the reason why the parallel is, in real terms, at record levels ”.
“The answer is not so much in the official value – there may be some noise but it is secondary – but in the fiscal and monetary policy carried out by the BCRA and the Government. Although it is not irrational in a context like this, there are many doubts about how this path that led to the quarantine is going to be retraced ”, added Moll.
When it comes to breaking down the reasons for the fall in net reserves, the EcoGo economist, Juan Ignacio Paolicchi, summarized: “The main factor draining the reserves were the sales of Dollars of the Central Bank ”. It should be noted that sales of US $ 200 through home banking have been growing in recent months: in April 1,200,000 people bought foreign currency in this way, in May they were 2,400,000 and in June, 3,300,000.
Paolicchi added: “There are two reasons that drive the purchase of dollars: one is idiosyncratic and the other is that both the interest rate on bonds and that which remunerates savings are below devaluation expectations. Therefore, it is preferable to sue the solidarity or go to the “cash with liqui”. At the same time, a growing gap disincentives exporters to liquidate and encourages importers to import and this generates demand for dollars that forces the Central Bank ”.
Now, why don’t total reserves fall and net reserves do? “The dollars that the saver buys tend to remain in the bank: that is why gross reserves rise and net reserves fall,” Paolicchi summarized.
On the other hand, beyond the devastating effects that the pandemic is having on the economy in general, the brake on the mobility of people seems to diminish in a sense the demand for dollars: “The tourism balance has been in deficit for many years: there are a certain percentage of the population that can travel abroad and has the desire to do so and, furthermore, Argentina is wasted as a tourist destination. In strictly terms of the exchange balance, the brake on tourism plays in its favor ”, stated Martín Kalos, director of the EPyCA consultancy.