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Argentina soy FX boost, set to end, spurred 14 mln tonnes in sales

By Walter Bianchi

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Argentine farmers have sold 13.9 million tonnes of soybeans since the launch of a preferential "soy dollar" exchange rate at the start of September, a measure which expires today, the Rosario grains exchange said on Friday.

The government brought in on Sept. 5 a preferential exchange rate of 200 pesos per dollar for exporters to convert their earnings in foreign currency back to pesos, well above the controlled official rate now around 147 pesos.

The so-called 'soy dollar' helped spur sales and Argentina's central bank accumulate some $5 billion in reserves during September, key to refill depleted state coffers and help the country meet targets with the International Monetary Fund.

The preferential FX rate, aimed at boosting exports, is set to end on Friday, with Economy Minister Sergio Massa expected to address the issue later in the evening. Weekly sales had already started to slow after tighter limits on access to FX markets.

Argentina is the world's top exporter of processed soy oil and soy meal. It is also the world's No. 3 corn exporter and a major producer of wheat. The government estimates the country's 2021/22 soy harvest was 44 million tonnes.

"We estimate that for the last quarter the liquidations of soybean exports should be reduced, putting pressure on external accounts due to the demand for dollars for imports and tourism," brokerage services firm SBS Group said in a report. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by David Gregorio)

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