South America

Argentina's new economy minister must give her commitment to an IMF programme in order for the Paris Club of creditor nations to open talks on the South American country's debt, a Paris Club source said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Argentina was due to hold talks on Wednesday with the group of government creditors but had to pull out after the surprise weekend resignation of economy minister Martin Guzman days ahead of the trip to the French capital.
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Argentine President Alberto Fernández appointed a little-known public servant as economy minister as his administration was facing soaring inflation and a weakening currency, which risk leading to social unrest, the Wall Street Journal reported. Silvina Batakis, an economist aligned with the ruling Peronist coalition’s far-left faction, took over the government’s top economic post Monday, two days after the surprise resignation of Martín Guzmán, a moderate aligned with the president. In past interviews and messages on her Twitter account, Ms.
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Argentina’s new Economy Minister Silvina Batakis vowed to continue the government’s economic plans, in a bid to stem a market plunge following a weekend filled with political turmoil in the crisis-prone nation, Bloomberg News reported. In her first words since taking over for her predecessor Martin Guzman, who suddenly resigned Saturday, Batakis sought to reassure the public she wouldn’t overhaul economic policy. “I believe in a balanced budget,” Batakis told the press in Buenos Aires after being sworn in Monday evening, without taking questions.
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Brazil's trade surplus reached $8.814 in June, official figures showed on Friday, below market expectations, Reuters reported. The reading was the second best for the month of June, after last year, since the figures were recorded in 1989. According to the Economy Ministry, exports grew 15.6% from June last year, to $32.7 billion, while imports jumped 33.7% to $23.9 billion. Global inflationary pressures have been boosting the value of tradable goods, amid rising food and energy prices and disrupted supply chains with the Russia-Ukraine war.
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Colombia’s central bank delivered its biggest interest rate increase in over two decades, potentially putting itself on a collision course with President-elect Gustavo Petro, though it signaled the pace may not be kept in future decisions, Bloomberg News reported. The board unanimously raised rates by 150 basis points to 7.5%, Governor Leonardo Villar told reporters after a policy meeting Thursday. That’s the largest hike since the bank implemented its inflation-targeting strategy in 1999.
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Brazil's federal government posted a bigger-than-expected primary budget deficit in May as net revenue fell during the period, official figures showed on Wednesday, Reuters reported. According to the Treasury, the budget deficit reached 39.4 billion reais ($7.55 billion) last month, worse than the median forecast of a 30.3 billion reais deficit in a Reuters poll. Net revenue fell 3.3% in real terms over May of last year, as transfers to states and municipalities surged 35.4% on the same basis.
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Colombia's fiscal rule committee said on Tuesday the country's finances are still not in order despite upticks in predicted tax revenue, and there is risk of an eventual increase in debt and spending, Reuters reported. The expert Autonomous Fiscal Rule Committee (CARF), charged with evaluating public finances, added in a statement there should be a change in the country's accounting to include fuel subsidy deficit.
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Brazil created a net 277,018 formal jobs in May, Labor Ministry figures showed on Tuesday, above market expectations, but workers' pay has declined, Reuters reported. According to the ministry, the average monthly salary of new jobs created in May decreased 0.94% from April to 1,898 reais ($363.59), after having posted a gain in the previous month. Job openings happened across the board, led by the service sector, which alone created 120,294 new jobs, recovering from the blow suffered from the coronavirus pandemic.
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Brazil's central bank is aiming for inflation in 2023 "around" the 3.25% target but less than 4%, its chief, Roberto Campos Neto, said on Thursday, as policymakers hike interest rates to cool surging consumer prices in Latin America's largest economy, Reuters reported. When it raised its key interest rate to 13.25% last week and penciled in another hike for August, the central bank said it was looking to ensure inflation next year converged "around the target" rather than "to its target." "Around is less than 4%, just to make that very clear," Campos Neto said in an online news conference.
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Brazil's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday approved the sale of state-run oil firm Petrobras' 51% stake in gas company Gaspetro with no restrictions, Reuters reported. Petrobras is selling the stake to Compass, which is controlled by energy company Cosan, for 2.03 billion reais ($394.15 million), according to a statement from Compass when the deal was announced last July. Japan's Mitsui & Co. owns the remaining 49% stake in Gaspetro, a holding company which controls 18 distributors of piped natural gas. The watchdog's Wednesday decision came on a 4-3 vote.
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