South America

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that dealing with high fuel prices in the country is his top priority right now, adding that he sees the privatization of state-run oil company Petrobras as an "ideal" move, Reuters reported. Bolsonaro told reporters during a visit to Anguillara Veneta, in Italy, that he was "unofficially" told that Petroleo Brasileiro SA - as the company is formally known - is expected to raise fuel prices at the refineries again in about 20 days. "Every bad thing that comes from Petrobras is my fault...
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Avianca Holdings SA asked a judge for permission to exit bankruptcy under a plan that the airline says will eliminate about $3 billion in debt and preserve over 10,000 jobs, Bloomberg News reported. Latin America’s second-largest airline before the pandemic presented its restructuring plan at a hearing in New York Tuesday. If approved, the 102-year-old company is eyeing an exit from bankruptcy this year. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn appeared to side with the company when a handful of objectors claimed the proposal wrongly favored some creditors over others.
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Brazil’s central bank is poised to deliver its biggest interest rate hike in nearly two decades as plans for greater public spending risk jeopardizing efforts to bring inflation down to target, Bloomberg News reported. Most economists agree on the need to step up an already aggressive monetary tightening campaign, but are divided over how dramatic the increase will be. The majority of the 49 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect the benchmark Selic to jump by 150 basis points to 7.75%.
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Latam Airlines Group’s chief executive wants to steer his company out of bankruptcy next year with a shrinking carbon footprint and lower costs that can help it grow in a travel market still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Roberto Alvo said that Latin America’s largest air carrier is making progress on a financing plan that it will submit to a judge next month, putting it on track to exit bankruptcy protection as soon as the first half of 2022.
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Chile’s Senate Constitution Committee approved a proposal for a fourth round of early pension withdrawals that would pump as much as $20 billion into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Bloomberg News reported. The committee voted 3 to 2 in favor of legislation on Tuesday despite growing opposition to the measure. The bill now moves to the Senate floor, where it faces difficult odds of passing. Three prior rounds of withdrawals have injected some $49 billion into the economy, buoying consumption and inflation amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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Two key groups of Latam Airlines Group SA creditors, frustrated by a bankruptcy process that has dragged on for almost 18 months, are asking for a mediator to help devise an exit plan for the Chilean carrier, Bloomberg News reported. The airline’s unsecured creditors and a consortium holding billions of dollars in claims complained on Thursday about the lack of progress and asked the court to order mediation. A mediator would facilitate talks about how creditors will be repaid and where existing shareholders fit into that plan.
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Truckers blockading a major refinery in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais disbanded on Friday, allowing fuel supplies to normalize in the nation's second most populous state, Reuters reported. The protesters, principally truckers who deliver fuel, had been demanding a decrease in taxes on diesel. Since Thursday, they had blocked roads near the REGAP refinery near state capital Belo Horizonte, an action that spooked industry leaders and motorists and caused some gas stations in Minas Gerais to run low on fuel.
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Jive Investments, Brazil’s largest distressed-asset manager, plans to raise as much as 7 billion reais ($1.3 billion) next year, looking to capitalize on opportunities created by the coming presidential election, Bloomberg News reported. “There may be a credit contraction and less appetite for Brazil among international investors, so we want to be prepared to allocate a lot of investment during this election scenario,” Guilherme Ferreira, a Jive partner, said in an interview.
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Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said the country is “absolutely” committed to reaching a deal with the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. Fernandez at the same time made clear that his government won’t risk rushing into an agreement if it’s a poor one for Argentines, in comments delivered at the closing of an event with top business leaders. “We’ll keep discussing until we’re sure we’ll have the resources to make Argentina stand on its own two feet again,” he said.
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