The automotive price index rose 83.6% in February year-on-year, more than 30 points above the 50.3% inflation rate for the same period. The value of the cars was well above the overall CPI. In February, recorded an increase of 3.4%, while the accumulated bi-monthly rate was 4.9%. The level of patenting at the beginning of 2020 forecasts a scenario with a fall of 19.8% for the whole year.
The prices of construction supplies registered in February a 4.5% increase, informed today the INDEC. The general level of the Construction Cost Index (CCI) accumulated in the first two months a rise of 10.2% and almost tripled the increase in retail prices of 4.3%. The increase in the CPI in February was the result of increases in Materials (1.4%), Labor (7.1%) and General expenses (2.7%).
The tourist dollar, which carries the 30% surcharge for the Country Tax, rose 17 cents to 85.27 pesos in agencies and banks in the city of Buenos Aires, while the blue, sank 4.2% to 85.50 pesos. The Central Bank (BCRA) held today the auction of Liquidity Letters (Leliq) at 28 days, which closed with an annual monetary policy rate of 38%. The ROFEX futures market traded 464 million dollars. Finally, the BCRA's International Reserves fell this Thursday to $88 million to $43.950 million, so the monetary authority's coffers accumulated a loss of $835 million in the last seven days.
The Central Bank (BCRA) issued new regulations intending to increase the banks' lending capacity to feed production and consumption. In this regard, the monetary authority will release 350 billion pesos ($5.5 bn) in legal reserve and liquidity letters (Leliq) so companies and families would access to credit lines at a maximum rate of 24%.
The S&P Merval stock index rebounded 2.6% to 22,656.43 units due to portfolio recompositions, in a day of relative calm in the world's markets. Unlike equities, the leading dollar-denominated bonds ended down by up to 2%, accumulating a 20% decline so far this week. The argentine country risk rose 81 units to 4,050 basis points, after reaching an intraday high of 4,160 points at the average of the day, a new high in 15 years.
Oil prices rose 24%, recovering part of the losses suffered from a liquidation that brought the barrel to its lowest levels in almost 20 years. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose $4.85, to $25.22 a barrel, after having lost nearly 25% in the previous round. The Brent gained $3.59, up 14.4%, to $28.47 a barrel, after sinking to $24.52. With these substantial rises, the papers of the oil company YPF resurfaced on Wall Street and climbed 18.7% to $3.05 per share. Analysts said that the rebound would have more declines due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on demand.