South America

At least two died and dozens were injured from looting and riots this weekend in Santiago and other major Chilean cities as protests against income equality intensified and spread across the country, Bloomberg News reported. The government has declared a state of emergency in the capital and four other regions in central Chile, giving it broader powers to enact security measures like curfews, for the first time since Augusto Pinochet was dictator. President Sebastian Pinera announced Saturday night that he would suspend the hike in subway fares that initially sparked the protests.

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A bankruptcy court in Paraná state has scheduled an auction to sell two plants belonging to Brazilian soy processor Imcopa International SA on Dec. 4, the company said on Friday, Reuters reported. Imcopa, one of the largest non-genetically modified soy crushers in Brazil, said the sale of the plants in the towns of Araucária and Cambé was foreseen in its reorganization plan approved by creditors in 2017. In a statement, privately owned Imcopa said the ruling was handed down on Thursday by Judge Mariana Gusso. The company declined to comment further.

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The International Monetary Fund will stand by Argentina as it works through its economic crisis, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday. She added that the Fund was waiting to see the future policy framework adopted by the Latin American country, which holds an election later this month in which a change of government is widely predicted, Reuters reported.

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Two weeks of protests and clashes, in which seven people were killed and 2,500 injured or arrested in the centre of Quito, have forced Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno to rip up his economic reform plans, leaving him in a weaker position than ever before, the Financial Times reported. Faced with the demands of a $4.2bn IMF programme, the Ecuadorean leader needs to either cut government spending or raise revenue. His plan to abolish fuel subsidies, which triggered the mass protests, would have saved the state $1.3bn a year, or 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product.

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Brazilian renewable energy firm Renova Energia SA has filed for bankruptcy protection, aiming to restructure a total debt of around 3.1 billion reais ($741.70 million), it said in a securities filing on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The bankruptcy filing comes two days after key shareholder Light SA sold its 17.17% stake in Renova to an investment fund for a symbolic value of 1 real, in a decision that followed failed talks to sell heavily indebted wind farm projects.

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Ashmore Group Plc and Venezuela’s government may be headed for a legal battle as a potential default on the state oil company’s 2020 bonds sets off a rush to lay claim to the nation’s most prized asset abroad, Bloomberg News reported. Ashmore, which owned about half the securities as of June 30, has urged Petroleos de Venezuela to make the $913 million payment on its 2020 notes due Oct. 28, yet the team advising National Assembly President Juan Guaido claims it doesn’t have the funds, three people familiar with the matter said.

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Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA’s advisors plan to propose a delay in the bankruptcy plan vote by creditors, two people with knowledge of the matter said, Reuters reported. Odebrecht is likely to schedule a creditors assembly on Nov. 18 to comply with Brazilian bankruptcy protection rules, but so far there is not a concrete proposal to vote on, the sources added, asking for anonymity to disclose private discussions. Creditors presented objections to Odebrecht’s plan this month.

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Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido said the Corporacion Andina de Fomento regional development bank is preparing to offer a $400 million line of credit to help “alleviate” Venezuela’s crisis, Bloomberg News reported. Guaido, who is recognized by more than 50 countries as the country’s rightful leader, said the money wouldn’t be handed to Nicolas Maduro’s regime, without providing details. CAF, as the lender is known, handed Venezuela a $500 million loan last year to help Maduro repay existing debt with the lender amid criticism by the opposition that it was illegal and fraudulent.

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Just three years after Argentina’s local markets were brought back from the dead, they’re barely clinging to life, Bloomberg News reported. Assets under management at local banks and brokerages have plummeted 25% since a surprise August primary vote that signaled pro-business President Mauricio Macri has little chance of winning re-election this month. Stock trading has fallen by half, and local bond volume is down by two-thirds.

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Argentina’s Sergio Massa, a key ally of presidential front-runner Alberto Fernandez, said on Friday that the International Monetary Fund should give the indebted country time to revive economic growth to be able to pay off its debts, Reuters reported. Massa, a former Argentine chief of staff who struck an alliance with Peronist opposition leader Fernandez earlier this year, said the IMF should see the relationship with Latin America’s No. 3 economy as a long-term journey.

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