South America

On Thursday Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term as president after his first term saw an exodus of Venezuelans escaping economic meltdown. The UN says more than 3m people have fled Venezuela since 2014, around 10 per cent of the population, while the IMF expects prices will rise a staggering 10m per cent in 2019, the Financial Times reported.

Read more

Argentina bond investors couldn’t catch a break in 2018, with yields on the country’s debt soaring even after the government took out a record $56 billion credit line with the International Monetary Fund in an effort to bolster public finances, Bloomberg News reported. The average yield on sovereign notes from the country has almost doubled this year to 11 percent, and now tops the 10.9 percent rate on overseas securities from much smaller Ecuador, which has the dubious distinction of having the second-most defaults in the world since 1800.

Read more
For the better part of the past year, Venezuela’s debt market has been dead. The bonds are in default and there are no restructuring talks, almost no trading and little action from creditors beyond grumbling in private, Bloomberg News reported. But that appears about to change. In the past few weeks, one group of investors banded together to demand immediate payment on the notes they hold, another cohort hired a law firm to review their options and a separate creditor sued in U.S. federal court.
Read more

A Brazilian Supreme Court justice on Wednesday suspended a presidential decree establishing rules for Petroleo Brasileiro SA to sell upstream assets, casting a pall over the state-controlled oil company’s ambitious divestiture program, Reuters reported. Justice Marco Aurélio Mello granted an injunction in a lawsuit brought by the leftist Workers Party to the Supreme Court, suspending a decree signed by President Michel Temer in April, the justice told Reuters.

Read more
A group of creditors has demanded payment on a $1.5 billion Venezuelan bond that is in default, their lawyer said yesterday, kicking off a long-awaited showdown between creditors and the crisis-wracked OPEC nation, Reuters reported. President Nicolas Maduro’s government and state-owned companies owe nearly $8 billion in unpaid interest and principal following this year’s default on bonds amid a hyperinflationary collapse of the country’s once-wealthy socialist economy.
Read more
Brazilian airline Azul SA is not currently engaged in negotiations for a possible acquisition offer for struggling Avianca Brasil, said Azul Chief Executive John Rodgerson, Reuters reported. But he acknowledged there could be space for a possible deal with Brazil’s fourth largest airline, which filed for bankruptcy protection this week. "Their bankruptcy protection case is very recent. It is possible that, in the future, we take a look at it, but right now there is nothing,” he said, nothing he will watch the “natural course” of the case.
Read more

Brazil’s fourth-largest airline, Avianca Brasil, has been in talks for a much-needed cash injection since before it filed for bankruptcy on Monday, German Efromovich, whose family controls the carrier, told Reuters. Efromovich, the controlling shareholder of better-known airline Avianca Holdings SA said in a phone interview on Thursday that he was negotiating with funds, which he declined to identify, Reuters reported. He also declined to elaborate on the value and whether the transaction would be debt or equity.

Read more

A Brazilian bankruptcy judge late on Tuesday granted a request by the country’s fourth-largest airline, Avianca Brasil, to suspend lawsuits seeking repossession of at least 14 of its aircraft, according to a court document, Reuters reported. Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, after aircraft lessors sued and won initial victories in seeking to repossess the planes. The airline has 494 million reais ($129 million) in debt, according to a court filing that is under seal but was seen by Reuters.

Read more

Brazil’s fourth-largest airline, Avianca Brasil, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, saying its operations had been threatened by potential repossession of aircraft, which could prevent the carrier from continuing to operate, Reuters reported. The unlisted airline said in its bankruptcy filing that leasing companies seeking to take back some 30 percent of its all-Airbus fleet threatened its ability to fly some 77,000 passengers in December.

Read more

Venezuela is facing the possible unraveling of a pair of billion-dollar settlements aimed at protecting the cash-strapped country’s U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum Corp from seizure by creditors. A lawyer for Canadian mining company Crystallex International Corp said on Tuesday Venezuela had breached the $1.4 billion November agreement that resolved a long-running fight over an expropriated gold mine. Separately, Venezuela’s $1.3 billion settlement in October with Rusoro Mining of Vancouver, also over expropriated mining assets, has been upended by U.S.

Read more