Argentine central bank tightens access to forex market for importers

BUENOS AIRES, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The Central Bank of Argentina on Monday ordered an adaptation of the foreign trade payment system which will put new limitations on import companies' access to the foreign exchange market.

The bank explained in a statement that the decision is aimed at "responding to the extraordinary needs for foreign currency to meet energy imports, with the purpose of sustaining economic growth and the development of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), while preventing speculation on imports."

The measure will be in effect for three months and will apply mainly to imports made under non-automatic import licenses, as well as to the import of services, "to give time to the normalization of foreign trade," the statement read.

SMEs will be exempted from the new requirements if they are "financing their imports by a 15-percent increase compared to the previous year, with a limit of up to 1 million (U.S.) dollars," the bank detailed.

On the other hand, companies with automatic import licenses will maintain access to the exchange market "for the equivalent of the monthly average of imports of 2021 plus 5 percent, or of 2020 plus 70 percent."

Imports made under non-automatic licenses will be able to access the foreign exchange market only after 180 days from the time of entry into the South American country.

"As for imports of services, they are treated in the same way as imports of goods, allowing access to the market for the same amount as in 2021 and in case of exceeding the amount the balance at 180 days," the monetary authority added.

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