South America

Avianca Holdings SA plans to add dozens of routes using smaller aircraft as it plots its emergence from bankruptcy later this year, the airline’s chief executive said, Bloomberg News reported. Colombia’s largest carrier is expanding with 50 direct routes between secondary cities in coming years, said CEO Anko van der Werff in an interview. Using narrow-body planes, it will target tourist spots such as Punta Cana, Cartagena and Cancun, offering a new level of cheaper fares to capture demand for leisure travel that’s leading a rebound after the pandemic crippled the airline business.
Read more
Brazil spent more money shielding its economy from the pandemic slump than almost any other emerging nation, and quite a few wealthier ones too. It put much less effort into containing the pandemic itself, Bloomberg News reported. That combination is putting the country’s economic policy under growing strain. It’s one reason why Brazil is poised to become the first Group of 20 country to raise interest rates this year.
Read more

Two developments in the China Fishery Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing have given William Brandt, the trustee overseeing the sale of the company’s Peruvian assets, hope that he will get a deal done, Seafood Source reported. On 19 February, Brandt filed a proposed settlement agreement with China Fishery Group’s court-appointed liquidator, FTI Consulting, which had sued the company, arguing it had used ill-gotten earnings to purchase Copeinca in 2013.

Read more
LATAM Airlines Group, the region’s largest airline, on Tuesday reported a loss of $962.5 million in the fourth quarter, hurt by a second wave of the pandemic which has hit Latin America particularly hard, Reuters reported. LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection last May and is still going through a court-supervised reorganization in the United States. Overall in 2020, the airline lost $4.6 billion, compared with a pre-pandemic profit of $196 million in 2019.
Read more

Sustainable debt sales are suddenly booming in Latin America, as investors looking for larger returns in environmentally and socially friendly securities grow more comfortable with buying high-yield bonds, Bloomberg News reported. Borrowers in the region have raised about $8.7 billion in international debt deals tied to environmental, social and governance projects so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s approaching the record $10.8 billion issued all of last year. And there’s plenty more to come.

Read more
Argentine farmer Javier Rotondo says he should be reaping a historic bounty with grain prices surging to their highest level in years, the Wall Street Journal reported. Instead, he reduced his corn crop by 20% after authorities temporarily suspended exports to reduce food prices, one of several measures by Argentina’s leftist government that economists say are suffocating business. Mr. Rotondo expects to take on debt to pay a new wealth tax, and he is bracing for price controls after President Alberto Fernández recently warned ranchers that rising beef prices won’t be tolerated.
Read more

Brazil’s Supreme Court could upend years of work by the Carwash anti-corruption task force that sent some of the nation’s top politicians and businessmen to jail, Bloomberg News reported. A panel of five judges is discussing whether Sergio Moro, once the judge in charge of the investigation and its most public face, was biased in his rulings against Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. If he’s deemed unfit, the decision could open the door for others he convicted to request their cases be reviewed.

Read more

Rio Tinto PLC said that its chairman would step down because of its destruction of two ancient rock shelters in Australia last year, bowing to demands from some investors for greater accountability for the incident, the Wall Street Journal reported. Rio Tinto said that Simon Thompson won’t seek reelection next year, tying the decision to the May demolition of the Juukan Gorge shelters that contained a trove of artifacts indicating they had been occupied by humans more than 46,000 years ago.

Read more
A U.S. judge on Wednesday quashed a bid to widen the scope of a civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that accused miner Rio Tinto of fraud at its Mozambican coal business, a court filing showed, Reuters reported. The SEC filed a complaint against Rio in 2017 with allegations that it had fraudulently concealed the decline in value of the business. Rio had acquired Riversdale mining for $3.7 billion in 2011, on the premise it would be able to barge 30 million tonnes of coal per year down the Zambezi river, and rail a further 12-15 million tonnes of coal per year to port.
Read more
Shares in Brazilian banks were down in late afternoon trading on Monday as media reported the government will raise taxes on banks as a way to compensate for tax exemptions for fuel, Reuters reported. According to O Globo newspaper, the government will raise one of the taxes paid by banks, a contribution over net income, from 20% to 23%. The government is also planning to end some tax exemptions for vehicles and petrochemical products, the newspaper said. President Jair Bolsonaro has promised truckers to reduce diesel prices by cutting federal taxes on the fuel.
Read more