South America

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Argentina’s economy capped a strong second half of growth as it emerged from a long recession last year ahead of an expected new deal in the coming weeks with the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. Economic activity in December rose 0.9% from the prior month, in line with economists’ expectations. From a year ago, the economy expanded 9.8% in the final month of the year, according to government data published Wednesday. The annual figure was below expectations for an 11% gain. In December, tourism and transportation posted the largest annual gains.
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Samarco Mineracao faces a possible creditor standoff at a meeting which has been scheduled for March 10 to vote on debt restructuring proposals which would allow the Brazilian iron ore miner to exit bankruptcy protection, Reuters reported. Creditors of the iron ore joint venture between Vale SA and BHP Group were expected to vote on Wednesday on the latest proposals to restructure some $5 billion in financial debt. But due to a lack of quorum, the meeting was rescheduled, Samarco said in a statement.
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Chile’s incoming Finance Minister Mario Marcel pledged to reduce uncertainty and seek to control debt levels, as he gets ready to take the reins of the economy next month as part of the new administration of President-elect Gabriel Boric, Bloomberg News reported. Establishing a fiscal base that allows the new government to execute its plans is priority, Marcel told reporters in Santiago on Tuesday after a meeting with outgoing Finance Minister Rodrigo Cerda.
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A group of Latam Airlines Group SA’s creditors said they are prepared to provide alternative financing if a bankruptcy judge rejects a financial lifeline from another creditor group, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. The splinter group of creditors, which includes Pentwater Capital Management LP, Invictus Global Management LLC and Avenue Capital Group, said it is ready to backstop $400 million of a rights offering and roughly $3.27 billion in the sale of convertible notes.
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Argentina’s central bank plans to raise its benchmark interest rate by 250 basis points to 42.5% on Thursday, according to an official who asked not to be named since the announcement isn’t public yet, Reuters reported. The increase marks its second rate hike this year, further tightening monetary policy to align with goals set out in the government’s talks with the International Monetary Fund. IMF staff have called for interest rates in Argentina to exceed annual inflation running at 51% as part of a pending program to reschedule the government’s $40 billion of outstanding debt with the IMF.
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Colombia’s economy blew away forecasts as it grew at the fastest pace in more than a century last year, driven by a rebound in consumer demand after pandemic curbs were eased, and soaring prices for the nation’s oil, coal and coffee, Bloomberg News reported. Gross domestic product expanded 10.6% in 2021, the nation’s statistics agency said Tuesday. That’s the fastest pace since at least 1906, according to data compiled by the central bank. GDP grew 10.8% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, surprising all 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg whose median forecast was for growth of 9.3%.
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Peru's economy is expected to have stayed above pre-pandemic levels in December and January, due to the recovery of internal demand and a record in exports, despite lower mining output after recurring social conflicts, the central bank said Friday, Reuters reported. "The economy is recovering, the output gap is closing, but it would still be below its potential," said Adrián Armas, manager of economic studies at the Central Bank, citing the bank's December and January advance indicator reports.
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Economic activity in Brazil rose 4.5% in 2021, a central bank index showed on Friday, rebounding from a record downturn the year before, when the coronavirus pandemic ravaged Latin America's largest economy, Reuters reported. The IBC-BR economic activity index, a leading indicator of gross domestic product (GDP), grew a seasonally adjusted 0.33% in December from November, and rose 1.3% from December 2020. Brazil's GDP shrank 3.9% in 2020, its worst year on record. The Economy Ministry has estimated GDP growth of 5.1% in 2021, while the central bank has forecast 4.4% growth.
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The owner of two strategic soy crushing plants in southern Brazil has appealed to the country’s antitrust body for a probe into a signed supply deal between U.S.-based grains trader Bunge and brewer Cervejaria Petropolis which is leasing the facilities, Reuters reported. In documents filed with regulator CADE late on Monday, the plants owner Imcopa said the deal falls foul of antitrust laws because the parties involved were already working together to implement it before they sought CADE’s approval.
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