The capital flight with the accumulation of dollar accounts in February amounted to 3807 million dollars. This figure was 70 percent higher than in the same month last year. The sale of dollar bills amounted to 3186 million dollars, which is 152 percent. The result was a net outflow of $ 621 million, compared with 970 million in the same month last year. February was the month when the economic crisis forced dollarized individuals to sell part of these funds to get pessoes. The data presented in the central bank's foreign exchange report clearly show this. 660 thousand bank customers were sold. In the same month of the previous year, there were 380 thousand euros.
Compared to January, the dollar buyers recorded a fall. A document from the responsible organism of Guido Sandleris reported that 920 thousand individuals who made currency purchases were approximately 350 thousand fewer customers than the previous month. Compared to the previous year, the number of customers increased by more than 50 thousand dollars. The Central Bank explained that "transactions with banknotes are concentrated in lower altitudes: 69 percent of gross sales and 67 percent of gross purchases were made by individuals who operated for amounts below 10 thousand dollars." Gross purchases per person were on average $ 1,286, selling $ 1025.
In contrast to the smaller leakage among retail savers, the banks, due to recession and loss of purchasing power, were the sector that continued to increase its foreign currency assets. The Balance Sheet notes that financial entities closed in February with a share in the general state of changes of $ 4918 million. Compared to the previous month, the number increased by 100 million. The ratio of foreign currency banknotes held by banks to the level of the general foreign currency position has exceeded 80 percent, which represents the highest value since 2016.
Tourism was a sector that turned out to be adjustments due to devaluation and loss of income in the US dollar. The travel and card payments deficit was 470 dollars, which is 44 percent less than in the same month last year. The other sector with a significant reduction in the external imbalance was the automotive industry. The latter can be explained by a severe recession that crosses the local market and has led to a collapse in the purchase of cars. The Central report states that "companies linking the automotive industry recorded a net profit of $ 100 million, with reimbursements based on the net exit from 560 million in February 2018". Imports from the sector were at the lowest levels in the last two years, while exports were close to the average values recorded over the same period.
Among institutional investors, where the behavior of foreign funds was visible, there were net purchases of $ 600 million when they generated 1,100 million net sales revenues in February 2018. This means that large investors still do not trust the money and exchange program of the monetary authority and, despite high interest rates, they prefer to transfer funds to dollars in order to withdraw them from the domestic market.
The monetary authorities note that the reserves in February increased by 1204 million dollars and ended the month at 68,015 million. In the month, Central made purchases of $ 418 million. This was due to the fact that in the first fourteen days the currency was below the area without intervention. In contrast, the change in tension began in the last fifteen days, which in the first half of March led to the establishment of a rate above 43 pesos. In February, the issue of securities (mainly Letes) was $ 4323 million. The payment of debts amounted to USD 3,000 million (concentrated in years) and USD 340 million to international organizations.