South America

Argentine assets have tumbled so far, so fast that a few stout-hearted investors say it might be time to buy, Bloomberg News reported. “Find me a high-yield sovereign country with an IMF program paying so generously,” said Jean-Dominique Butikofer, the Atlanta-based head of emerging-market fixed income at Voya Investment Management, which oversees about $205 billion. “We can agree on the growth outlook, inflation running unexpectedly out of control, the debt dynamic after currency depreciation and worrying technicals.

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Argentina’s assets took a beating Thursday amid President Mauricio Macri’s continuing struggle to tame rising prices and revive a shrinking economy, raising prospects that his left-wing predecessor could make a comeback in this year’s presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported. The peso lost more than 5% of its value against the dollar in early trading Thursday, before regaining some ground in the afternoon.

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The economic team of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is pushing to ensure a $71 million interest payment is made on the nation’s last remaining bond not in default, Bloomberg News reported. On Wednesday, the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s finance commission approved a measure to vote next Tuesday on the disbursement to holders of state oil producer PDVSA’s notes due in 2020. The group of lawmakers recommended Congress support the payment. That’s because the bond is backed by a majority stake in Citgo, the Venezuelan-owned U.S.

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Investors pummeled Argentina’s debt market on Wednesday as a looming presidential election stoked concern the country is heading for its third default in less than two decades, Bloomberg News reported. Five-year credit default swaps were quoted at 1,157 basis points, a 17 percent increase in a day, according to prices compiled by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. That puts the probability of a default over that period at more than 58 percent, up from 22.7 percent just one year ago, Bloomberg data indicated.

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Maria Esther Roa was fuming. A powerful lawmaker had, once again, escaped punishment for his misdeeds. But standing outside of Congress in Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, in early August of last year, Ms. Roa hatched an unconventional plan to bring some measure of accountability to the powerful. It involved pots, pans, dozens of eggs and lots of toilet paper — and it would inspire a nationwide grass-roots crusade against corruption in this tiny South American nation, the International New York Times reported.

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For months Beto Marron faced a terrible dilemma: he could pay his rent and rapidly rising utility bills, or he could put enough food on the table for his family of four. He could not afford to do both. The decision was made for him when he was kicked out of his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires late last year, forcing his family on to the streets. “This is sucking the life out of me.

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President Nicolas Maduro is funneling cashflow from Venezuelan oil sales through Russian state energy giant Rosneft as he seeks to evade U.S. sanctions designed to oust him from power, according to sources and documents reviewed by Reuters. The sales are the latest sign of the growing dependence of Venezuela’s cash-strapped government on Russia as the United States tightens a financial noose around Maduro, who it describes as a dictator, Reuters reported.

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Brazilian lawmakers delayed a vote on pension reform legislation, dealing a blow to President Jair Bolsonaro’s policy agenda and irking investors who hope the overhaul will bolster Latin America’s largest economy, The Wall Street Journal reported. Opposition lawmakers on Monday night managed to push back, likely into next week, the first of several votes needed to approve a bill proposed by Mr. Bolsonaro that imposes tougher retirement rules.

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Struggling Brazilian airline Avianca Brasil had told regulators that it was permanently cancelling several routes as of Monday despite continuing to sell tickets for them on its website, according to a letter seen by Reuters. The airline, which has been fighting aircraft lessors in bankruptcy court, told civil aviation regulator ANAC in the letter sent on Friday that it was ending 48 flight frequencies — around a quarter of its capacity — due to a shrinking fleet, Reuters reported.

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