South America

Dilma Rousseff stepped up her campaign to rescue Brazil’s flagging economy, announcing an infrastructure package worth almost R$200bn ($65bn) on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported. Brazil’s president outlined plans to sell to the private sector new concessions to build and operate nearly 7,000km of roads, as well as four large airports and a number of ports and railways. Ms Rousseff said the aim of the package was to “invest to revive economic growth”.
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Proposed new obligations on multinationals to produce country-by-country reports on their financial affairs will have a “massive impact” on them, a leading member of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation has said, the Irish Times reported. Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the Center for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD, was reacting to what he said were “angry responses” to the organisation’s latest proposals on the topic.
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South America’s largest economy faces a difficult balancing act to avoid a potentially disastrous spiral of economic contraction as it seeks to control inflation, the Financial Times reported. Brazil’s planning minister Nelson Barbosa warned that he expected only a very gradual recovery from this year’s recession, in contrast with previous downturns during the past decade when the country immediately bounced back with rapid growth.
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Three-quarters of the world’s workers are temporary, casual or self-employed and this sort of employment is likely to become more prevalent, says the International Labour Organisation. The ILO, a UN agency that specialises in work, analysed employment patterns in 180 countries and found that the “standard” model of permanent full-time employment was “less and less dominant” in rich, developed economies, the Financial Times reported. In developing economies, salaried employment was still growing as a share of the total workforce but that historical trend appeared to be slowing.
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Thirteen Brazilian and international banks filed a lawsuit in New York on Tuesday against two units of ailing engineering and oil conglomerate Grupo Schahin to recover $371 million in overdue principal and interest on loans, Reuters reported. The lawsuit comes weeks after Schahin sought for protection from creditors in Brazil and the United States, and fired 2,500 workers as a corruption scandal at key client Petróleo Brasileiro SA hampered its efforts to refinance up to 6.5 billion reais ($2.1 billion) in debt.
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For years, Venezuela has had a hole in its pocket, a very big hole. The government’s complex currency system has led to exorbitant schemes by importers, who wildly inflate the value of goods brought into the country to grab American dollars at rock-bottom exchange rates, the International New York Times reported. Sometimes, they fake the shipments altogether and import nothing at all. Then they just pocket the dollars that the government provides, or sell some of the money for a gargantuan profit on the soaring black market here for American currency.
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Brazilian engineering conglomerate Grupo OAS expects revenue to shrink more than 50 percent by 2017 as it sells operations and refocuses on civil construction after filing for bankruptcy protection due to a bribery scandal at a state-run oil company, Reuters reported. The filing by OAS, the third-biggest builder in Brazil last year, was the highest-profile bankruptcy filing to follow a sweeping police investigation of a price-fixing and kickback scheme at state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.
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Argentina Casts A Wide Net For Cash

Argentina’s thirst for dollars has been temporarily quenched by a $1.4bn bond sale but a state visit to Russia this week is unlikely to yield significant support for its languishing economy, the Financial Times reported. Hindered from issuing debt in international capital markets by a long-running dispute with a group of holdout hedge funds, Argentina succeeded in issuing dollar-denominated debt under local law on Tuesday to bolster precariously low foreign exchange reserves.
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Forty-three percent of companies in Colombia's oil sector are at high risk of going bankrupt as the industry reels from the recent halving of oil prices, according to a survey presented to the Andean country's congress this week, Reuters reported. The survey by the Colombia's companies' regulator polled 53 companies with total assets of about $10 billion but it did not include state-run oil producer Ecopetrol or two Toronto-listed companies, Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp and Canacol Energy Ltd.
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