Buying dollars today: three legal ways that still exist to access the US currency

As the exchange rate barriers set in September last year were tightened, access to buying dollars became increasingly difficult (Reuters)

As the exchange rate restrictions established in September last year were tightened, access to the purchase of dollars became increasingly difficult. However, in the face of inflation expectations that remain explosive without increasing, interest rates in pesos that yield very small real yields and a long history of preference of Argentine savers for the dollar the ways to get to the US banknote without breaking the rules Currency exchange rates become increasingly complicated but do not disappear.

The regulations that were gradually added fix holes in the clamp but do not manage to close it completely. A review of some of the most used methods shows that there are still 3 different ways to save in dollars.

Solidarity dollar

The purchase of dollars in the formal market remains open although with very narrow limits. The use of the USD 200 monthly quota grows month by month, as more and more savers take advantage of the possibility of placing the just under $ 20,000 that can be used for foreign exchange a official exchange rate plus the PAIS Tax, which this Friday closed at $ 99.13 per dollar.

In August of last year, Before the imposition of the first stock that left a monthly quota of USD 10,000 per person per month, just over 1,300,000 people entered the foreign exchange market to purchase tickets for hoarding.

In May the number of buyers already reached 2,400,000 individuals and in June that number reached 3,300,000 people. An unprecedented record figure that led the Central Bank to set obstacles to movements of dollar accounts -a broad outline now does not allow to receive more than one transfer per month- because he understood that the rebound was due to an increase in “virtual collectors” They sold their quota to third parties and to a boom of the “mash”, the purchase of dollars in the formal market for resale in the parallel market.

The Central Bank added other obstacles this year, which are intended to prevent the money injected by the Government to alleviate the economic situation generated by the preventive quarantine of COVID-19 from demanding dollars.

But beyond these controls on violations of exchange rate regulations, the Central Bank added other obstacles this year, which aim to prevent the money injected by the Government to alleviate the economic situation generated by the preventive quarantine of COVID-19 from going to demand dollars. Monotributistas and self-employed who accessed loans at zero rate, companies that took loans at 24% or adhered to the benefits of the Work and Production Assistance program were left without the possibility of accessing the official dollar.

Dollar MEP and Cash with settlement

Another avenue that remains open for access to dollars is through the exchange rates implicit in financial assets. The calls “Stock market dollar” or “MEP dollar”, on the one hand, and “settlement dollar”, on the other.

Since there are financial assets, such as sovereign bonds and some stocks, which are quoted in dollars and pesos, the difference between these two quotes shows an implicit exchange rate. When buying a bond with pesos and reselling it in exchange for dollars, then, you can acquire foreign currency without an amount limit. And, since the exchange rate is not regulated by the Central Bank, by buying a bond with dollars and reselling it in exchange for pesos, you can also obtain a better price for dollars that needs to be changed.

When the operation is done in the local market there is talk of MEP dollar, when the liquidation of the title is done outside the country, in cash with settlement, also sometimes called “dollar flight” because it allows dollars to be bought to get them out of the country, although, to be precise, it has no impact on the Central Bank’s reserves and for every dollar that is bought and placed outside, one dollar is sold and enters the country in the form of pesos.

Pounds: BCRA

Pounds: BCRA

From the first days of the current stocks, the parallel prices of the currencies that have the advantage of being able to operate in white and without limit of amounts began to enjoy such particularity that they ended up suffering their own obstacles.

Nowadays, the essential obstacle is “parking”, a regulation that requires a 5-day waiting period between the purchase of a security and its resale in another currency, with the objective of discouraging these operations. Variations in the price of the bonds used for the transaction during those days of delay add risk to those who use it for short-term exchange purposes., since it is not possible to know how much is going to be paid for each dollar.

Communications A 6780 and 6799 of the Central Bank of September 2019 plus resolution 808 of the National Securities Commission of the same month initiated the obstacles.

This year, communication A 7001 of the BCRA in April, resolution 841 of the National Securities Commission and Communication A 7030 of the BCRA in May tightened the parking lot and added another difficulty: Operating with the dollar in the official market went to 90 days to disable the purchase of the MEP dollar or cash with liquidation and, in turn, operating with implicit dollars also prevents the acquisition of the solidarity dollar. for the same period.

Communication A 7001 of the BCRA of April, resolution 841 of the National Securities Commission and Communication A 7030 of the BCRA of May toughened the parking

The Stock companies and banks, however, still offer the possibility of trading MEP dollars and with liquidation. In fact, as they often function as a substitute for the informal dollar, when the gap between the MEP and the blue dollar grows, the risk of waiting five days decreases: the variation in the prices of the bonds used to buy dollars has to be very great so that you end up paying more for each currency.

In particular, the MEP and the cash with liquidation attract companies and people who need to exchange dollars for pesos. In the formal market, savers today receive just $ 71.30 per dollar, while selling them for MEP dollars on Friday they received $ 123.46 per dollar. This difference caused the supply of foreign exchange in the informal exchange market to be reduced almost to nullity: in June only 76,000 individuals sold USD 11 million, when a year earlier 540,000 people had sold USD 620 million. It is, beyond the parking lot, the best way to make dollars grow.

Through cryptocurrency platforms, savers access dollars at between $ 129 and $ 130.30 per unit

Through cryptocurrency platforms, savers access dollars at between $ 129 and $ 130.30 per unit

Crypto dollar

The other, until now legal, way to access dollars is the operation with cryptocurrencies. In July, these operations caught the attention of the Central Bank due to the increase in the number of people who accessed the formal dollar market.. The regulators’ deduction is that by allowing the purchase of dollars without parking or restrictions, it was used as a way to “puré”: the resale of the monthly quota of USD 200 to make about $ 5,000 of difference, although it is not the only use.

Through online platforms that allow to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with pesos and dollars, users make their own implicit exchange rates. A kind of cash with liquidation of cryptocurrencies.

Through online platforms that allow to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with pesos and dollars, users make their own implicit exchange rates

At Bitex, Buenbit, Qubit, Satoshi Tango and Decrypto, users buy cryptocurrencies with pesos and then resell them in exchange for dollars, at an exchange rate that on Friday was between $ 129 and $ 130.30. Conversely, buying with dollars and selling in exchange for pesos, they obtained the same day between $ 119 and $ 126 per dollar.

Foreign exchange operations behind cryptocurrency transactions do not yet have a specific ban, but they may encounter difficulties in recent obstacles to movements in dollar accounts. In order to bring the currencies from the platforms to the world of atoms, it is necessary to transfer the money to bank accounts and the Central Bank blocks those accounts in foreign currency that receive more than one transfer per month or make “unusual movements”.

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