South America

LATAM Airlines yesterday turned back two challenges to its bankruptcy reorganization plan, putting the carrier a step closer to emerging from chapter 11 after seeking protection from creditors in the early months of the pandemic, Reuters reported. LATAM said in a statement it was pleased by a U.S. bankruptcy court's decision confirming its reorganization plan in which two groups of creditors lost their appeals. LATAM, which filed for bankruptcy in 2020, won court approval to exit chapter 11 in June.
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Brazil's government debt fell to its lowest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic amid favorable fiscal data, central bank data showed on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The country's debt as a share of gross domestic product dropped to 77.6% in July, from 78% in June, the lowest figure since March 2020, when it reached 77.03%. At the peak of the spending spree to fight the pandemic, the indicator reached 89% of GDP.
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Brazil posted a current account deficit of $3.5 billion in May, the worst result for the month in eight years, amid trade balance weakening, central bank figures showed on Friday, Reuters reported. A strong commodities producer, Brazil has seen its exports grow, but imports have increased at a faster pace, driven by higher prices for products such as fuel and fertilizers. In May, the trade balance surplus was $3.4 billion, down 53.3% over the same month last year.
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Bond issuances by companies in Colombia plunged nearly 50% in the first half of the year due to rising financing costs, Fitch Ratings said on Thursday, Reuters reported. "Rising inflation and a revised monetary policy resulted in a large increase in financing costs, conditions that kept companies from issuing new debt," the agency's senior analyst, Juan David Medellin, said in a report. Annual inflation in Colombia is at its highest level since April 2000, according to data published by the National Department of Statistics (DANE), reaching 10.21% in annual terms at the end of July.
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The bolivar is plummeting, breaking a rare stretch of stability for Venezuela’s battered currency, Bloomberg News reported. It has lost a third of its value so far this month, hitting 9.33 bolivars per US dollar on the parallel exchange market Thursday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the steepest monthly decline since January 2021. Controlling the exchange rate has been a key ingredient of President Nicolas Maduro’s strategy to halt a four-year hyperinflation bout, which ended in December.
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Chile’s record current account deficit will keep the peso under pressure long after the central bank’s $25 billion intervention program is done and dusted, Bloomberg News reported. The deficit swelled to 8.5% of gross domestic product in the second quarter, the highest for at least two decades. That was roughly triple the year-earlier figure and represented $6.6 billion leaving the country in just three months. Not only is that rate of outflow unprecedented this century, it also comes at the worst possible moment as financing costs rise worldwide.
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Brazilian central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto on Tuesday predicted that inflation will reach 6.5% or a little lower this year, amid government measures that lowered taxes on key goods, Reuters reported. The estimate is more optimistic than private economists' expectations of inflation at 6.82%, according to a central bank weekly survey, but still above the official target of 3.5%, plus or minus 1.5 percentage point. "This year, inflation is going to be around 6.5%, perhaps a little bit lower.
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Argentina's government will launch three measures in the coming days aimed at restricting imports and preserving the central bank's dwindling foreign currency reserves, a source told Reuters on Tuesday. The measures come as new data on Monday showed a trade deficit in July of $437 million, the second deficit in a row for Latin America's third-largest economy.
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Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa tapped veteran economist Gabriel Rubinstein as secretary of economic planning, to help craft the policy response to a currency slump and the fastest inflation in three decades, Bloomberg News reported. Rubinstein, who has long run his own consulting firm, served on the central bank’s board during the administration of late President Nestor Kirchner in 2005, among other government roles. Massa, a career politician, was sworn in earlier this month.
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Since 2011, Peruvians have lived under seven presidents and seen four ex-leaders detained or wanted on corruption allegations. Yet, in the same period Peru has held onto the unlikely title of the fastest growing major economy in Latin America, Reuters reported. That period of standout growth is set to end this year, an analysis of World Bank data and International Monetary Fund forecasts shows, with Colombia overtaking Peru. Slowing growth at the world's No.
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