The BCRA Ensures Foreign Currency Availability for Economic Activity

The BCRA has simplified access to the forex market for importers. The amount is similar to that of last year, with the ability to finance any excess amount in 180 days, in accordance with import authorizations issued by the Ministry of Productive Development.

The Board also decided that the conditions to access the forex market for the payment of imports, the need of prior authorization to pay financial debts held abroad with related creditors, and the regulations on refinancing of foreign liabilities will remain in effect until the end of the year.

The BCRA will assign an A category to the statements under the Imports Monitoring Comprehensive System (Sistema Integral de Monitoreo de Importaciones, SIMI) of the Ministry of Productive Development in order to enable fast access to the forex market as long as certain parameters of foreign currency demand for imports are not exceeded. It will assign a B category where the imports of goods are to be financed for 180 calendar days at a minimum as from the customs registration date of the goods.

The Ministry of Productive Development manages commercial policy, while the Federal Administration of Public Revenue controls the economic and financial capacity of importing companies. The BCRA, in turn, defines the mechanism for market access for importers that obtained the relevant permit. The Board also kept the same conditions to access the forex market in the case of imports of capital goods, imports of goods related to the needs derived from the COVID-19 health situation, temporary imports of goods for subsequent export, and imports of goods subject to non-automatic licenses.

The BRCA shall allow an importer to access the forex market in the case of SIMI statements under category A for one of the following two amounts, whichever is lower:

- the FOB value of imports in 2021 plus 5% of such value.

- the FOB value of imports in 2020 plus 70% of such value.

The imports registered under the importer's name in the Monitoring System for the Payment of Imports of Goods (Sistema de Seguimiento de Pagos de Importaciones, SEPAIMPO) will be taken into account for calculating the FOB value of imports in 2020 and 2021.

The aforementioned limit is set at an amount equal to USD50,000 for new importers or others for whom the above calculation does not reach such value.

If the amount of an authorized SIMI statement exceeds the amount authorized to access the forex market for payment, the importer may seek financing with a minimum term of 180 days for the remaining amount.

The selected coefficients are expected to allow those importers whose foreign purchases in 2021 were aligned with the economic activity recovery—associated with an improvement of the health situation—to continue accompanying growth during 2022.

In turn, those whose imports exceed the parameters must obtain additional financing to cover their import needs.

During the past months, a sustained growth was observed in imports of goods that exceeded the needs of productive activities and that was associated with early purchases as part of a speculative behavior.

The measure adopted by the Board of the BCRA gives priority to the use of foreign currency in the Argentine economy within a scheme based on maximizing its social and economic impact, and aims at building up international reserves to strengthen the monetary and foreign exchange policy.

March 3, 2022

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