Argentina Said to Plan Export Incentives to Attract Dollars

Argentina’s central bank plans to offer incentives for exporters to accelerate sales by giving them peso-denominated notes that would compensate for any subsequent devaluation of the currency, a bank official said.

Central Bank President Juan Carlos Fabrega is seeking to give exporters incentives to sell grains without waiting for a stronger dollar, said the bank official, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Exporters would receive securities tied to the official rate, protecting them from an accelerated pace of devaluation, the person said. There are an estimated $3.4 billion of soybeans being held by farmers, according to Buenos Aires-based research company Elypsis.

The plan is intended to increase the bank’s international reserves, which have fallen $12.8 billion this year to a seven-year low of $30.5 billion. Fabrega, who was appointed Nov. 18, has weakened the peso 4.4 percent in his first three weeks in a bid to slow the drain on reserves and close a gap between the official rate of 6.2766 and the black market rate of 9.56. The nation depends on agricultural exports for 50 percent of export revenue.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has promoted measures to curb the decline in foreign currency holdings used to pay international creditors, including raising a tax on credit-card purchases abroad for Argentines and promoting a bill to raise taxes on luxury imports.

The government is also negotiating with the World Bank for a $3 billion loan and in talks to compensate Repsol SA for the takeover of YPF SA in a bid to attract energy investments.

A central bank spokesman said he couldn’t comment publicly on the plan.

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