Quem quiser a matéria completa pode encontrá-la aqui, mas o extrato abaixo é uma amostra interessante do que ocorre quando, em nome da manutenção da taxa de câmbio depreciada (sem sucesso, diga-se, como discutimos neste post), o governo resolve tributar as exportações de commodities. Absolutamente previsível; a única coisa surpreendente (mas não tanto) é achar quem, depois de tudo isso, ainda defenda a adoção de medidas semelhantes por estas plagas.
Argentina’s farmers unable to fill wheat gap
For the past four years Argentine farmers have been grappling with wheat export limits, which the government says are to protect domestic prices, and also pay 23 per cent in export taxes, further discouraging overseas sales. So, with scant incentive to produce, farmers have slashed the land sown with wheat to a 111-year low, and cereal exports from the rolling pampas of what should be a breadbasket country have virtually halved over the past five years.
The lessons of Argentina’s experience with export restrictions are particularly relevant now, as wheat traders mull the impact of Russia’s decision last week to ban grain exports. The lower wheat production means that global supplies will be thinner than otherwise, further fuelling the price rally.
Wheat farmers in Argentina have turned to other crops, such as soyabean, while some international investors, who are critical to the flow of money into capital-intensive agriculture, have left the country and turned to Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.
Gustavo López, an analyst, reckons that the country’s best wheat hope this year is 4m hectares sown, which could produce a harvest of about 10m tonnes. Argentina needs 5.5m tonnes to meet domestic demand and, after setting aside seeds and stocks for next year, that could leave 4m for export, Mr López says. That compares with 10m tonnes in exports as recently as 2005.
Uncertainty about the export cap is compounded by doubts about export taxes. The government’s measures for charging such tariffs are set to expire this month, and it remains unclear how the system might be amended.
“It’s too late in the season to change planting decisions,” says Mr Cameron. “Instead of producing 16m to 17m tonnes like we used to and should, we produced 8m last year and we’ll produce 10m to 11m this year,” he adds.
The irony is that the price of bread in Argentina – which the government’s measures are supposed to protect – has leapt in recent years amid rising inflation, with the cost of wheat accounting for only a fraction of the bread price.