BCRA Will Issue Bonds for Importers to Pay Overdue Debts


The use of import permits as an instrument to administer importers' access to foreign currency caused an accumulation of commercial debts, which are significantly above the historical average. The BCRA was forced to implement a new regime for importers to access the forex market, through a transparent and streamlined mechanism, for paying commercial debts as from December 13, 2023. This measure has been adopted in answer to a marked inconsistency between the amount of freely available international reserves and the stock of overdue commercial debts.

The BCRA disclosed, under Communication B12695, the terms and conditions of the three series of Bonds for the Reconstruction of a Free Argentina (BOPREALs, in Spanish). This measure seeks to dispel doubts about the repayment of importers' commercial debts accumulated until December 12, 2023. These bonds will be offered as vehicles to channel the demand for foreign currency from importers of goods and services to pay back commercial debts with customs registration or services actually rendered until December 12, 2023.

The auction of these new bonds will enable the BCRA to offer an orderly solution to the crisis brought about by the accumulation of importers’ commercial debts, which are unmanageable in the short-term judging by the current stock of reserves available. These bonds will serve as a bridge to the accumulation of reserves in line with the trade balance surplus projected for the coming years. In this sense, importers will have the chance to acquire BOPREALs in pesos in exchange for foreign currency obtained from the BCRA to pay back their debts owed to a supplier abroad.


The BCRA will offer a range of alternatives through three series of bonds, bearing in mind that it is hard to give a single short-term solution to all importers. The three bonds, denominated and payable in US dollars, will be subscribed in pesos in exchange for a foreign currency purchase technical ticket. The BCRA has laid down, under Communication A7925, the requirements for importers of goods with customs registration prior to December 12, 2023, and for the import of services actually rendered prior to such date to have access to the primary auctions of BOPREALs. It has also established that the sale of securities acquired in primary auctions and settled in foreign currency will not make the holder ineligible to access the free and single foreign exchange market to carry out other authorized transactions.

Based on the trade balance flow projected for the years to come, the BCRA's future commitments to deliver foreign currency are staggered by drawing on a short-term bond (Series 2 maturing in June 2025), a medium-term bond (Series 3 maturing in May 2026) and a bond with the longest term, as established in Communication A7918 (Series 1 maturing in October 2027). These commitments take into consideration the need for foreign currency within the normalization process of imports of goods and services established in Communication A7917.

The BCRA will offer BOPREAL Series 1 as from December 26, 2023. BOPREAL Series 2 and 3 will be subject to maximum amounts based on the information derived from the registry of importers’ commercial debts jointly prepared by the Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP, in Spanish) and the Secretariat of Trade and Industry (the "registry of foreign commercial debts").

Monedas de uno y cinco pesos

BOPREAL SERIES 1 (maturing in 2027)

The special characteristics of this longest-term bond make it attractive to a great number of importers, particularly large companies. In turn, this series safeguards the BCRA's foreign currency. To the extent this objective is achieved, there will be more shorter-term securities available, especially for the importers that cannot acquire this bond.

SERIES 1 will accrue an annual interest rate of 5% and, like the other two series, will be payable in US dollars (both principal and interest). As of March 1, 2024, this bond will be stripped into 4 independent series, under conditions identical to those of the original bond and with additional benefits in three of the four series (except for SERIES 1-D). Both SERIES 1 and the independent series (strips) will be eligible for transfer and trading in secondary markets.

BOPREAL SERIES 1-A, SERIES 1-B and SERIES 1-C, equivalent to 70% of the total SERIES 1:

1) Include an early redemption option for the holder, thus providing liquidity at any time from the date shown in each series to the bond’s maturity date. A holder exercising an early redemption option will receive pesos converted at the benchmark exchange rate (Communication A3500) of the day of notice of the early redemption option exercise.

2) Will be eligible for the payment of taxes as provided for in Executive Order 72/23.

In addition, the BOPREAL SERIES 1 subscribed up to January 31, 2024, will have the following additional benefits:

1) A 0% PAIS tax rate, as set out in Executive Order 72/23.

2) An exceptional authorization to access the forex market as from February 1, 2024, for the payment of imports of goods and services that occurred prior to December 12, 2023, for up to 5% of the total value of BOPREAL SERIES 1 acquired in primary auction, to the extent that such bonds represent at least 50% of the total debt for imports of goods and services as of December 12, 2023.


BOPREAL SERIES 2 (maturing in 2025)

This bond will accrue no interest and principal will be reimbursed in 12 consecutive monthly installments as from July 2024. The total amount issued will be based on the BCRA's capacity to use foreign currency in the short term. In this sense, the maximum amount available will be determined based on the information derived from the registry of foreign commercial debts.

This bond may not be traded in secondary markets, but may be transferred to third parties (such as foreign suppliers, financing providers or related institutions).

BOPREAL SERIES 3 (maturing in 2026)

This bond will accrue an interest rate of 3% and principal will be paid in three consecutive quarterly installments, the first one in November 2025. The total amount available of this bond will be subject to foreign currency availability. Like in the case of Series 2, Series 3 bonds will be allocated based on the information derived from the registry of foreign commercial debts. SERIES 3 may be transferred and traded in the secondary market.


Considering that the issuance of Series 2 and 3 will be subject to maximum amounts and that priority for acquiring such bonds may only be determined once the information from the registry of foreign commercial debts becomes available, the BCRA plans to start offering Series 1 through periodic auctions so that importers may participate at an early stage. As a significant portion of the outstanding stock of foreign commercial debt will be channeled through Series 1, it will no longer be necessary to set a limit on the amounts issued under Series 2 and 3.

The BCRA expects to conduct periodic auctions of BOPREAL SERIES 1, at least twice a week, from December 26, 2023, to the end of January 2024. Importers wishing to participate in the auctions will do so through financial institutions, which will be responsible for verifying compliance with exchange regulations and for issuing the relevant technical exchange tickets for the bonds’ subscription.

December 22, 2023

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