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LatinNews Daily - 26 February 2021

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In brief: Argentina’s central bank eases currency restrictions

*Argentina’s central bank (BCRA) has issued new rules on access to foreign currency by local private firms seeking to repay their foreign currency-denominated debt. Back in September 2020 BCRA restricted firms’ ability to purchase US dollars to this effect in a bid to protect its dwindling foreign reserves amid the continued depreciation of the Argentine peso. These restrictions were due to expire on 31 March. But BCRA has now issued a set of rules that will remain in place until 31 December. The new rules ease some of these restrictions by increasing the amount of dollars that firms are freely allowed to purchase in the currency market to pay off outstanding debts from U$1m to US$2m per month. Firms requiring a larger amount must still get pre-approval for the purchase from BCRA. An official statement said that the new rules reflect “the increased availability of foreign currency and represents a step towards the transition to currency market liberalisation”. This after BCRA reported net foreign reserves of US$39.5bn, their highest level since November 2020.