Argentina tightens FX access for luxury cars, private jets

By Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES, June 27 (Reuters) - Argentina's central bank on Monday tightened access to foreign exchange markets for importers including buyers of high-end products like luxury cars and private jets, as the entity looks to protect low levels of foreign currency reserves.

The bank and Economy Minister Martin Guzman said they would tighten up on automatic licenses for importers accessing FX markets with import costs having risen steeply. It would though ease access for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"The logic of this is to set out priorities for the use of foreign currency that strengthens our capacity to accumulate reserves," Guzmán said in an interview with Radio con Vos.

Argentina, which has had strict capital controls in place since 2019, saw imports climb 53.1% in May with high energy costs, while exports grew 20.7%, a concern for the country as it looks to build up foreign currency reserves.

The central bank said it had adapted the foreign trade payment regime in order "to respond to the extraordinary needs of foreign currency to meet energy imports, in order to sustain economic growth and the development of SMEs."

In the first five months of the year, energy imports surged 205% compared to the same period in 2021, totaling $4.64 billion, Guzmán said, adding the country was looking to speed up domestic gas production and capacity.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewksi; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Bernadette Baum

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