South America

When investors dumped Argentine bonds en masse just as copies of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s autobiography Sincerely began to fly off the shelves last week, it gave new meaning to the term “bestseller,” the Financial Times reported. The asset sell-off took place as all emerging markets were suffering from the strengthening US dollar.

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SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest about $230 million in Brazilian online lender Creditas as the firm expands investments in Latin America, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. SoftBank is planning to do the deal via a joint investment from its Vision Fund and newly created Innovation Fund, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public. No final decisions have been made, and SoftBank may still decide against the transaction, they said. SoftBank and Creditas declined to comment.

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Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza SA said in a filing on Monday it agreed to buy online shoe retailer Netshoes Ltd for approximately $62 million, Reuters reported. Magazine Luiza offered to pay $2 a share. Rival Brazilian retailer B2W had said earlier in April it was considering the acquisition of Netshoes. Netshoes stocks ended 3.9 percent down on Monday at $2.65. Shares have fallen by 85.3 percent since its initial public offering two years ago, as the company has struggled to turn a profit.

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Colombia's Avianca Holdings SA said on Monday it is experiencing "reputational harm" from its association with Avianca Brasil, an air carrier that licenses its name and has canceled over 1,000 flights amid a bankruptcy restructuring, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Both Aviancas belong to the same family-owned business group, led by brothers German and Jose Efromovich, but are maintained as separate companies.

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Argentine assets have tumbled so far, so fast that a few stout-hearted investors say it might be time to buy, Bloomberg News reported. “Find me a high-yield sovereign country with an IMF program paying so generously,” said Jean-Dominique Butikofer, the Atlanta-based head of emerging-market fixed income at Voya Investment Management, which oversees about $205 billion. “We can agree on the growth outlook, inflation running unexpectedly out of control, the debt dynamic after currency depreciation and worrying technicals.

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Argentina’s assets took a beating Thursday amid President Mauricio Macri’s continuing struggle to tame rising prices and revive a shrinking economy, raising prospects that his left-wing predecessor could make a comeback in this year’s presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported. The peso lost more than 5% of its value against the dollar in early trading Thursday, before regaining some ground in the afternoon.

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The economic team of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is pushing to ensure a $71 million interest payment is made on the nation’s last remaining bond not in default, Bloomberg News reported. On Wednesday, the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s finance commission approved a measure to vote next Tuesday on the disbursement to holders of state oil producer PDVSA’s notes due in 2020. The group of lawmakers recommended Congress support the payment. That’s because the bond is backed by a majority stake in Citgo, the Venezuelan-owned U.S.

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Investors pummeled Argentina’s debt market on Wednesday as a looming presidential election stoked concern the country is heading for its third default in less than two decades, Bloomberg News reported. Five-year credit default swaps were quoted at 1,157 basis points, a 17 percent increase in a day, according to prices compiled by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. That puts the probability of a default over that period at more than 58 percent, up from 22.7 percent just one year ago, Bloomberg data indicated.

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Maria Esther Roa was fuming. A powerful lawmaker had, once again, escaped punishment for his misdeeds. But standing outside of Congress in Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, in early August of last year, Ms. Roa hatched an unconventional plan to bring some measure of accountability to the powerful. It involved pots, pans, dozens of eggs and lots of toilet paper — and it would inspire a nationwide grass-roots crusade against corruption in this tiny South American nation, the International New York Times reported.

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