BUENOS AIRES, (Reuters) – Argentina will start to pay for Chinese imports in yuan rather than dollars, the government announced, a measure that aims to relieve the country’s dwindling dollar reserves.
In April, it aims to pay around $1 billion of Chinese imports in yuan instead of dollars and thereafter around $790 million of monthly imports will be paid in yuan, a government statement said.
The decision aims to ease the outflow of dollars, Argentina’s Economy minister Sergio Massa said during an event following a meeting with the Chinese ambassador, Zou Xiaoli, as well as with companies from various sectors.
The decision comes as the South American nation battles critical levels in its dollar reserves amid a sharp drop in agricultural exports caused by a historic drought, as well as political uncertainty ahead of elections this year.
In November last year, Argentina expanded a currency swap with China by $5 billion, seeking to strengthen Argentina’s international reserves.
The agreement will allow Argentina “to work on the possibility” of advancing the rate of imports, Massa added, with yuan-denominated import orders being authorized in 90 days rather than the standard 180 days.