Cuba

Cuba´s ailing economy has begun to recover in some sectors after two years of pandemic-induced contraction but soaring global prices for food and fuel require "audacious" measures to tame inflation, economy minister Alejandro Gil told Cuban lawmakers on Saturday, Reuters reported. Gil said Cuba saw a 38% increase in exports in the first quarter, boosted by the rising price of nickel, a top mineral export. He said inflation had also slowed despite upward pressure on the price of imports. "We are beginning to see a clear and gradual recovery," Gil said.

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The Cuban central bank issued regulations on Tuesday for virtual asset service providers, after giving a nod last year to the personal use of cryptocurrencies, a move some experts said could help the Communist-run Caribbean island skirt stiff U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported. Cryptocurrencies, which allow financial operations to be carried out anonymously in a decentralized manner, have been used in the past to get around capital controls, as well as to make payments and transfers more efficient.
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Cuba is struggling to cover a fuel deficit as imports from Venezuela and other countries remain below historical levels and global prices boosted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine make purchases almost unaffordable, according to analysts and data, Reuters reported. The Caribbean country, which is dependent on fuel imports mostly from political ally Venezuela to cover more than half of its demand, is since last month dealing with diesel and gasoline shortages leading to long lines in front of stations.
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Thousands of small and medium-sized Cuban businesses will be allowed to incorporate in the coming months, in one of the most important economic reforms taken by the island's Communist government since it nationalized all enterprises in the 1960s, Reuters reported. The reform, details of which came to light this week, will permit small and medium-sized businesses for the first time since 1968, putting an end to the legal limbo in which many have existed for years in the Soviet-style economy.
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Exxon Mobil Corp. can move forward with a U.S. lawsuit seeking $280 million from two Cuban companies as compensation for a refinery and other assets seized from the oil giant after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, a judge in Washington said, Bloomberg News reported. The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta keeps alive Exxon’s suit against a Cuban government-owned conglomerate, Corporacion Cimex SA, and state-run oil company Union Cuba-Petroleo, known as Cupet. Over the years, the U.S.
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Cuba’s already cash-strapped economy shrank 11% in 2020 due to the pandemic, tougher U.S. sanctions and domestic inefficiencies, Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said on Thursday, forecasting 6% to 7% growth for next year, Reuters reported. Addressing a year-end session of the Communist-run country’s parliament, Gil said it would take the next two years for the state-run economy to recover from this year’s sharp contraction.

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Wealthy nations grouped together in the Paris Club of creditors have waived Cuba’s annual payment for restructured debt but plan to impose a penalty on the Communist–run island, according to five Western diplomats with knowledge of the situation, Reuters reported. This year marks the first time Cuba has missed the entire payment due by Oct. 31 since the restructuring agreement was signed in 2015, though it fell short of full payment last year as well. The accord, signed in tandem with the U.S.

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Investment firm CRF I Ltd. sued Cuba in a London court in an attempt to force the island’s communist government to repay commercial debt that it defaulted on more than three decades ago, Bloomberg News reported. CRF, which has held Cuban debt for more than a decade, said the claim was filed in U.K. High Court against the government and state-owned Banco Nacional de Cuba. It stems from credits two European banks extended to the Cuban bank in 1982 and 1984, according to a copy of the claim seen by Bloomberg.

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Cash-strapped Cuba has begun paying a fourth installment on its renegotiated $2.6 billion debt to 14 creditor nations, and its chief debt negotiator, Ricardo Cabrisas, told Reuters this week that all payments would be made, even if a bit late, Reuters reported. Communist-run Cuba reached an agreement in 2015 with members of the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations that forgave $8.5 billion of the $11.1 billion in debt it defaulted on through 1986, as well as charges.

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An investment fund that’s seeking a payout from the Cuban government on more than $1.3 billion in defaulted debt and back interest has hired the lawyer who won a settlement for hedge funds in a long-running legal battle against Argentina, Bloomberg News reported. CRF I Ltd. contracted Matthew McGill, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, to represent it in its claim against Cuba “including potential litigation,” according to a letter from the firm provided to Bloomberg News by a fund investor.
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