South America

Brazil’s central bank said an extension of its aggressive tightening cycle with another interest rate hike in August is needed to assure that high inflation forecasts will fall back around their target, Bloomberg News reported. Policy makers discussed signaling a steady interest rate for a “sufficiently long” period but concluded another hike would still be needed, according to the minutes of their June 14-15 meeting, when the board raised borrowing costs to 13.25%.
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Miners Vale SA and BHP Group said in a joint statement on Monday they are not interested in selling their joint venture Samarco, after reports of the interest of Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN), Reuters reported. "BHP Brasil and Vale say Samarco is not for sale and reaffirm its support for the restructuring plan filed by the employees' unions," the companies said in a joint statement. The statement added the companies are "focused on the mediation hearing in the bankruptcy process" scheduled for Tuesday.
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Peru's central bank on Friday said it had reduced its growth projection for 2022 to 3.1% from 3.4% previously amid global economic volatility and a recent disruption to mining activity in the Andean nation, Reuters reported. The bank maintained its estimate for 3.2% GDP growth in 2023, bank president Julio Velarde said in a presentation accompanying its latest macroeconomic projections report. It saw a lower fiscal deficit for 2022 of 1.9% of GDP compared to a previous 2.5% projected in March, principally due to higher fiscal revenues, Velarde said.
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Argentina's monthly inflation clocked in at 5.1% in May, still painfully high but below expectations and slower than the two previous months as the South American grains producer battles to bring down consumer prices, Reuters reported. That was below the median forecast of 5.2% that local and foreign analysts polled by Reuters gave. The rate was 6% in April and a year-high 6.7% in March. The annual inflation rate, however, is expected to top 70% by the end of the year.
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Brazil posted a higher-than-expected $4.9 billion trade surplus in May, official data showed on Monday, boosting exports to the European Union amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. The result represented a sharp decline from the $8.5 billion surplus posted in May 2021, on the back of a surge in imports while exports grew at a slower pace. Exports were up 8% from the same month last year to $29.6 billion, a record for any month, the Economy Ministry said.
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Argentina's benchmark interest rate is likely to be hiked another 200 basis points next week, analysts polled by Reuters estimated, as the central bank seeks to counter soaring and painful inflation that could top 70% this year, Reuters reported. The survey of seven analysts and traders indicated the bank would likely hike the rate to 51% from its current level of 49%, according to a median of the responses. The estimates ranged from no change to a steepest hike of 350 basis points.
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Chile’s government is confident it will be able to undertake massive structural reforms without scaring away foreign investors, according to one of the nation’s top economic officials, Bloomberg News reported. “Our main message is that change is not the same as uncertainty,” Economy Minister Nicolas Grau, 39, said in an interview Monday in Ottawa. He spoke in Canada as part of an official visit by Chile’s left-wing President Gabriel Boric, who met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and investors before he travels to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
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Brazil's consolidated public sector posted a primary budget surplus of 38.88 billion reais ($8.18 billion) in April, the best result since the central bank series started in 2002, figures showed on Tuesday, Reuters reported. In the 12 months to April, the primary surplus as a percentage of GDP reached 1.52%, up from 1.37% in the previous month. The figure was boosted by gains reported in tax collection, helped by the upturn in economic activity and a jump in fuel prices.
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