South America

Colombian flag carrier Avianca has overhauled the interiors of more than 100 Airbus A320 jets, increasing their capacity by a fifth as it repositions itself as a budget airline following its bankruptcy, Business Traveler reported. Bogotá-headquartered Avianca filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York in the spring of 2020 amid the upheaval and travel restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring, Avianca has adopted a new business model, transforming itself from a full-service legacy airline to a low-cost carrier.

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Billionaire banker Jaime Gilinski ramped up his bid to take control of Colombian grocery store chain Almacenes Exito, according to a draft letter seen by Bloomberg and later confirmed in a regulatory filing, Bloomberg reported. Gilinski on Tuesday sent the letter to Exito’s largest shareholder, Cia Brasileira de Distribuição, offering $586.5 million in cash for a 51% stake in the retailer, GPA said. It represents a per-share premium of more than 30% from the original offer, which was made last month for 96.5% of Exito and rejected by GPA’s board.

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Argentina President Alberto Fernandez warned against a sharp devaluation of the country’s currency as expectations mount that his soon-to-be-elected successor will have no other choice to address a chronic dollar shortage, Bloomberg reported. “An abrupt devaluation would be a problem for Argentina,” Fernandez said during an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Maria Tadeo in Brussels, where he is attending a summit of leaders from Latin America and Europe. He made no mention that a currency move he characterized as “very damaging” was imminent.

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Rio de Janeiro-based electricity distributor Light SA has submitted a plan to restructure about 11 billion reais of debt, according to a securities filing late on Friday, Reuters reported. Light filed for bankruptcy protection in May, becoming the latest high-profile Brazilian firm to do so in recent months. The plan, which has yet to be approved by the lenders of the company, foresees a number of repayment and capitalization options. Light said it will seek to raise at least 1 billion reais ($209 million) of new funds as part of its reorganization plan.

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Peru's central bank expects the country's inflation rate to be higher in July versus June, which saw a contraction in prices, the head of the bank's economic studies unit said during a presentation on Friday, citing seasonal variation, Reuters reported. Adrian Armas also said that May GDP figures, set to be published on Saturday, are likely to be in the negative realm when asked by reporters, with the fishing sector having taken a notable hit.

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Word that Uruguay was seeking a trade deal with China prompted exultation at El Álamo ranch, a lush expanse of grass punctuated by cactus and herds of cattle on the eastern plains of Uruguay, the New York Times reported. Most of the cattle are destined for buyers in China, where they confront tariffs of 12 percent — more than double the rate applied to meat from Australia, the largest exporter of beef to China. Ranchers in New Zealand, the second-largest exporter, enjoy duty-free access to China.

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Argentines are tightening their wallets to make end meets as the South American country battles inflation which could surpass 140% on an annual basis this year, hunting for the cheapest prices on basic goods to shield their income, Reuters reported. The national statistics office INDEC is set to release the country's June inflation figure later on Thursday. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the rate of rising prices to slow to 7.0% in June from 7.8% the previous month.
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Argentina's monthly inflation rate is expected to slow to 7.0% in June, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll, after hitting 7.8% in May, as the government battles to control spiraling prices ahead of elections in October, Reuters reported. The poll of 23 analysts measures inflation by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with estimates ranging from 6.6% to 7.8%.
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Brazil's annual inflation in June fell to its lowest level since September 2020, data from statistics agency IBGE showed on Tuesday, renewing bets that an interest rate cut is around the corner as consumer prices continue to trend down, Reuters reported. Annual inflation in Latin America's largest economy slowed to 3.16% in June from 3.94% in May, in line with a market consensus of 3.17%. Prices fell 0.08% on a month-on-month basis, the first deflation registered since September of last year.
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President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government will not wait for Brazil's Congress to finish voting on a tax reform related to consumption before submitting its proposal for an income tax reform, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said on Monday, Reuters reported. Haddad said in an interview with podcast "O Assunto" that the planned change in income tax, a long-standing agenda item for Lula's leftist Workers' Party, represents a crucial element of the government's plans to zero its primary budget deficit next year.
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