South America

Shares in Brazilian telecoms carrier Oi SA posted heavy losses on Tuesday, after media reports that its largest shareholder, GoldenTree Asset Management, is seeking to replace Oi’s Chief Executive Officer Eurico Teles, Reuters reported. Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported earlier on Tuesday that GoldenTree, which holds a 14.5% stake in the company, sent a letter to the board saying Oi needs a CEO “that may execute the operational restructuring recently proposed,” the paper said, mentioning the letter was dated Aug. 16.

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The slump in the Argentine peso last week made the country’s pile of debt much harder to repay, signaling a renegotiation may again be in the cards for the South American nation, Bloomberg News reported. As of March 31, Argentina had $33.7 billion in foreign-currency debt payments due by year-end, the majority in short-term Treasury bills, or Letes, according to the latest debt report by the Finance Ministry. Most of that still needs to be repaid.

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After a brief respite at the end of last week, Argentina’s debt is getting hammered again. The nation’s offshore notes approached new lows on Monday, close to wiping out the small rebound from late last week, after the country was downgraded deeper into junk territory by two of the three biggest ratings companies and the Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne resigned, Bloomberg News reported. The extra yield investors demand to own Argentine bonds over U.S.

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Fitch Ratings has downgraded Argentina, citing concerns about the country’s capacity to repay its debt following a collapse in the peso triggered by the surprise victory of Peronist Alberto Fernández over incumbent president Mauricio Macri in recent primary elections, the Financial Times reported. The rating agency slashed Argentina’s rating to CCC and warned the country could lose market access should Mr Fernandez move sharply away from the policy path set forth by the current administration.

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The Argentine opposition candidate, Alberto Fernandez, said that the country would struggle under present conditions to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund and he would seek to renegotiate the repayment terms, according to an interview published on Sunday by the newspaper Clarin, Reuters reported. “I would say that there is only one incontrovertible reality and that is that Argentina in these conditions is not able to repay the debts it took on,” said Fernandez, the favorite to win the October elections.

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Brazilian telecom carrier Oi SA reported a steepening second-quarter net loss on Wednesday, confounding expectations for a narrower shortfall, as debt servicing costs rose and the real currency weakened, Reuters reported. In a securities filing, the company posted a quarterly loss of 1.559 billion reais ($384.81 million), compared to a loss of 1.258 billion reais in the same period of the previous year. Analysts on average expected a net loss of 437 million reais, according to Refinitiv data.

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In a related story, Bloomberg News reported that Argentina’s century bonds may have been in the spotlight as the country’s assets tumbled this week, but there’s another 100-mark looming: the yield on its domestic securities. Peso bonds have lost almost half their value in dollar terms since President Mauricio Macri’s defeat in last weekend’s primary election, which sparked fears that populist opposition leader Alberto Fernandez will defeat him in the main vote in October. Prices on short-dated securities maturing in November next year have collapsed to 63 cents, equating to a yield of 89%.

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The Incredible Sinking Argentina

Over the last 70 years, Argentina has endured hyperinflation, government collapse, and the world’s largest sovereign debt default. It’s spent a third of that time in recession, a record that almost deserves its own chapter in economic textbooks, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. And yet even the embattled Buenos Aires stock exchange had never experienced anything like the 48% plunge it took on Aug.

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Argentina’s peso resumed its slide on Wednesday as President Mauricio Macri announced a raft of emergency measures aimed at providing relief to a population suffering from the impact of a sharp devaluation following his stunning defeat in primary elections, the Financial Times reported. The measures, which will cost $740m, included increases in the minimum wage, loans for small and medium-sized businesses, student grants, subsidies for poor families with children and a floor for income tax, as well as a freeze on petrol prices for 90 days.

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