The National Electoral Council (CNE) Approves Electoral Registry for Elections in Venezuela

Latin America
More than 20 million Venezuelans are invited to participate on May 20th to elect the President of the Republic.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela approved on Thursday the final Electoral Registry (RE) for the upcoming presidential,  legislative and municipal elections on May 20th.

Through a press release, the commission reports that some 20,526,978 citizens are called on to elect the president, while 18,919,364 will choose their representatives in the state legislative councils.

In addition, the commission clarified that the number of those summoned for these processes are different because, for the presidential election, all Venezuelans of legal age enrolled in the CNE are counted, even those who are abroad.

However, for legislative councils, people abroad and the inhabitants of the Capital District were excluded, due to the fact that they have a special administrative regime and added that foreigners with more than ten years of residence in the country will be able to vote next May 20th.

The cutoff for the Electoral Registry is based on voter data gathered until March 10, the date on which the registration process for new voters and the updating of data closed.

This data was audited by the different organizations with candidates for this new election day.

Peru moves Chile as main exporter of copper concentrate to China

Latin America

Peru was for the first time transformed as the largest exporter of copper concentrates to China, the main consumer of the red metal, surpassing Chile. At least this is shown by the relevant figures of Peruvian customs.

As of August 2017, the Asian giant received 3.22 million tons of concentrates from Peru, while Chile reached 2.72 million tons. Although last year shipments of Peruvian concentrates to China were close to equating Chileans, analysts expect 2017 to close with a consolidation of the Inca country.

Among the reasons cited by the Bloomberg agency is the long standoff faced by Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, at the beginning of the year, which lasted 44 days.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring country grew the production of the red metal after the implementation of new projects or large expansions of existing works.

The Latin American economy will grow by 2% in 2018, twice as much this year

Latin America

The GDP of the Latin American economy will rise by 2 percent in 2018, almost double that of the forecast for the current year, of 1.1 percent, according to forecasts by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The impulse that is beginning to be felt in the region is mainly due to the rise in the price of raw materials, the increase in world trade and the dynamism of the economies of Mexico and Brazil and Argentina, which recover from a long and deep crisis, according to the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Alicia Bárcena.

However, the low growth expected for this year, coupled with two continuing recessionary years, could be reflected in an urban unemployment rate of 9.4 percent in 2017, higher than the previous forecast, and 0.5 percentage points higher than in 2016. In this unemployment rate is influenced by the lower contribution of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which would fall 5 percent in all Latin America in 2017 to add four years of consecutive falls, although a better outlook is expected for next year . “The investment should be better than in 2017, I see it closer to stabilizing in 2018,” said the head of the agency that depends on the United Nations.

However, this year the data are more positive than in 2016, when FDI decreased 17 percent from the high reached in 2011 with 206.935 billion dollars. In the region, FDI only grew in nine countries between 2015 and 2016, including the Bahamas, Panama, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Paraguay, among others.

Despite the recession, Brazil increased its income by 5.7 percent in 2016 and was the main recipient. Thus, it is vital to know that investment flows represent 3.6 percent of Latin American GDP.

Among the sectors to be highlighted in order to continue on the right track, according to Cepal, are the renewables, which could be an essential link to attract foreign capital in Brazil, Peru, Chile and Mexico. Also, lithium mining could advance in Bolivia or Argentina, along with tourism in Central America or manufactures in the largest economies in the region. To this end, among the challenges mentioned by Bárcena is to encourage the investment and commercial insertion model, as well as to jump on “the train that already started” of technology and sustainable development, with a focus on smart cities and innovation.

JBS Group cancels plans to operate on the New York Stock Exchange

Latin America

JBS canceled a planned $ 500 million initial public offering (IPO) of its processed food subsidiary JBS Foods International BV, nearly six months after corruption and food grade scandals affected investor demand for the operation.

In a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, JBS Foods International requested withdrawal of the IPO because “it decided not to push the sale of securities (…) at this time.” Neither the parent, JBS, nor the unit provided details or offered any new timeline for the transaction.

Both companies had announced the plan to open on the stock exchange in the United States on December 5. Sao Paulo-based parent company JBS, which is the world’s largest refrigeration group, reaffirmed in August plans to list the subsidiary on the stock exchange, saying a deal could take place by the end of next year.

The proposal for the IPO of JBS Foods International was first tested in March after a scandal over alleged bribes of health officials led to bans on Brazilian beef exports.

Two months later, two members of the family that controls JBS reached an agreement of demarcation before the Brazilian justice in relation to a research on corruption. Family members, the Wesley brothers and Joesley Batista, were arrested last month in connection with insider trading and other crimes related to their agreed statement.

Wesley, JBS ‘former CEO, had to resign as a result of his arrest.

European Parliament advances in the discussion of the EU-Mercosur agreement

Latin America

The report, which will be presented for approval next week at the Foreign Affairs Committee, and then approved at the Strasbourg plenary in September, emphasizes the European Union’s “strategic relationship” with Latin America as a priority, in a context of World change, erected among other factors by the protectionist positions of Donald Trump.

The free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur, which was announced this week will have its first political agreement by the end of the year, can be endorsed by the European Parliament in the first months of 2019, said MEP Javi López, author of the report that recommends giving priority to “the strategic relationship” with Latin America.

“It will be the same as with the agreement signed yesterday by the EU with Japan, the political framework will be closed and then technical work will continue in small print and is expected to be approved during this term, which ends in May Of 2019, “Spanish socialist MEP Javi López told Télam in Madrid.

López is the author and rapporteur of the report “Political Relations of the European Union with Latin America”, commissioned by the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Union, which represents the official position of the European Parliament on relations between the European Union and Latin America Latina. In turn, the Committee on Foreign Affairs has among its functions to approve the agreements signed by the community block.

A consortium of 1,500 producers from 13 provinces exported food to 68 countries for US $ 292.2 million.

Latin America

Newsan Group, through its food marketing company Newsan Food, formed the consortium. The experience is in line with the one realized in the country by great players, like Arcor and Coca Cola, to acquire large quantities of production of regional economies.
“We are looking for regional economies and producers who are eager to export and who do not find the marketing channel or need some working capital support to develop more production and increase volume,” Newsan Foods CEO Verónica Nohara told Télam , Who said that the consortium is “1,500 regional producers across the country, generating 4,250 jobs between direct and indirect, and exports to 68 countries.” Sales totaled US $ 292.2 million.

The 1,500 producers are from regional economies of the provinces of Buenos Aires, Chubut, Cordoba, Corrientes, Entre Ríos, La Pampa, Mendoza, Misiones, Salta, San Luis, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe and Tierra del Fuego. The products that are exported are fish, honey, peanuts, plums, raisins, rice, beans, chickpeas, lentils, pisingallo maize and giblets vaccines.

“We are exploring the possibility of adding provinces, such as La Rioja, and new products, such as citrus, mainly lemons”, explained Nohara, who stressed that “since the start we are trying to create an umbrella brand, which the world consumer Identify with the origin of the products we are exporting. “

Acindar anticipated that its production and sales of steel will grow 10% this year.

Latin America

The main supplier of the country plans to increase sales by increasing demand for public works and also the recovery of industrial sectors.

The production and sale of steel by Acindar, the country’s main supplier, will grow at least 10% this year, driven by higher demand for public works, but also by the recovery of different industrial sectors, Million tons.

“We came from a rather complicated 2016 because it was the first year after a government transition that had its impact on Acindar’s sales levels, but today the indicators are recovering and the prospects are good in light of the reactivation of the Public works and infrastructure, “Facundo Velasco, Manager of Legal and Institutional Affairs at Acindar told Télam.

In the year in which he celebrates his 75th anniversary, Velasco stressed that “forecasts have been accurate, and both production and sales in real terms have improved.” According to the Argentine Chamber of Steel, crude oil production in April was 367,400 tonnes, representing a growth of 15.1% over the same period of the previous year.

As the main supplier of long steel in the country, the demand for the reactivation of public works and infrastructure development impacts on the activity of the company that is part of the Arcelor-Mittal Group. In this regard, Velasco estimated that this year will record “at least a 10% increase over 2016.”

Argentina has the next “Big Bang” oil tanker in Vaca Muerta

Latin America

“You have here the ‘next big bang’, the next major event in unconventional hydrocarbons,” said Janeen Judah, director of the US oil company, in reference to the Neuquen formation Vaca Muerta.

The executive opened in Buenos Aires the Latin American and Caribbean Conference of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, in which Secretary of Strategic Energy Planning, Daniel Redondo, affirmed that the national government “is playing for this bet and took critical measures to Facilitate investments that should amount to US $ 20 billion per year. ”

Judah said that “everyone is talking about Dead Cow and they are asking if the next big shale oil basin is true”.

“It is true that they chose an exceptionally bad time, in 2014, to reform their oil sector; But as the price of oil stabilized and the fiscal terms were affirmed I think the investments will reach Vaca Muerta, and this shows great potential to become that next big bang, “said Janeen Judah.

The Chevron directive, the first firm associated with YPF to exploit the Loma Campana area, also highlighted the contribution that will come from the advance in large-scale data analysis.

“We are seeing a convergence of reliable sensor technology, cheap and widely available communications and a rapid improvement in data intelligence, which improves the way we analyze our fields,” Judah said.

He said that “stable prices and stable governments attract more foreign investment and better business,” and said that “we are at a very exciting time: a new perspective has begun for the non-conventional, in the United States and here in Argentina” .

Redondo, in turn, reviewed the scenarios for the local energy sector and said that “a very rapid development of Vaca Muerta” is needed to meet expected demand, given a projected annual GDP growth of 3% in the next decade.

“To promote this investment we take two measures, the first of which is to intervene in a labor negotiation with the unions, which is not the responsibility of governments, but of companies,” he explained.

“But under the circumstances we have reached an agreement with the main guilds to optimize practices and reduce even the high labor cost of gas development,” said the secretary.

The second measure, Redondo said, “was requested by the oil industry and is a price of natural gas that will help to quickly start the development of unconventional gas.”

“We have agreed a plan by which we give a price that we consider high for all unconventional gas, which is US $ 7.5 per million Btu (British thermal unit), that is, more than double what is paid In the United States for natural gas, and we will continue to maintain a price very close to that of import for the next five years, “the official promised.

Redondo ratified that the Ministry of Energy and Mining projects occasional exports in the summer of 2020 and “if it develops Vaca Muerta, we will reach 2022 with reasonable self-sufficiency and exportable balances for most of the year, although imports will continue Of Bolivia and LNG (liquefied natural gas) during peak demand. ”

“If we boost production and efficiency, gas supply will grow significantly, by almost 60% over the next 10 years,” he predicted.

As for the prospects of non-conventional hydrocarbons in a broader sense, YPF’s executive manager of Exploration and Development Carlos Colo recalled that the company continues its studies in all the basins in which it is present.

“The objective,” concluded the director, “is to identify new opportunities with a concept of border exploration, and as part of that strategic line we began to develop prospective activities in Los Molles (Mendoza), although we also see opportunities in the Southern and Gulf basins San Jorge (Chubut and Santa Cruz) where we explore with the idea of understanding the subsoil “.

The Foreign Investment and Trade Bank (BICE) obtained a US $ 150 million loan from the China Development Bank

Latin America

The Foreign Investment and Trade Bank (BICE) obtained a US $ 150 million loan from the China Development Bank, which will be used to finance small and medium-sized investment projects in Argentina, mainly in the Value-added agriculture and renewable energy.

“This is US $ 150 million of financing that we have just closed in very good conditions for the Bank, with a repayment term of seven years and two grace periods, and at a very low rate,” BICE President Pablo García told Télam , From the Chinese capital of Beijing, on the credit obtained for SMEs.

Garcia, who accompanied President Mauricio Macri on his tour of the East, said that “the idea is to pass this credit advantage to SMEs,” and said that “it will be an anchor in pesos, seven years, and an interest of 21 % Annual or at Badlar rate (currently at 19.68%) plus 4.5 percentage points, whichever is lower. ”

“This is part of the result of the Argentine mission (to China), the confidence in the country, that we have returned to the market, and the interest they have to support us,” said the head of BICE, who stressed that ” In the first year of management we increased in lending capacity and doubled disbursements to $ 7 billion, which in 2017 will end up $ 13.5 billion. ”

He said that the Chinese bank “see that we can reach more companies and are willing to take more risk Argentina,” and said that the Asian giant “there is a great interest for Argentina.”

Between 2007 and 2015, the China Development Bank loaned BICE US $ 140 million in three tranches, and this time the agreement represents an amount higher than the sum of the three previous lines over more than eight years.

“There is a lot of interest from the Chinese bank to support everything that has to do with SMEs in value-added agriculture, agricultural products, and renewable energy,” said García, who estimated that with projected disbursements for $ 13.5 billion this year, Will reach about 1,350 small and medium enterprises, given that the average loans are $ 10 million.

During the signing of the agreement between both banks were present, in addition to Garcia and the head of the Chinese institution, Hu Huaibang; The President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Macri and the Minister of Production, Francisco Cabrera.

“We are working so that Argentine SMEs can grow and improve their productivity and competitiveness. Proof of it is that today the Chinese Development Bank is ready to start a relationship that we are convinced will be more than beneficial for both countries, “said Cabrera.

The European Union and Cuba seal the agreement to normalize their relations

Latin America

The European Union ended Monday with the institutional veto it has applied for 20 years to Cuba.

EU Foreign Policy High Representative Federica Mogherini, Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-Eight and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez signed a bilateral agreement that normalizes relations and sets a framework for dialogue for the first time And cooperation between the two territories.

After almost two years of negotiations, the agreement repeals the so-called “common position”, promoted in 1996 by the then Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, which conditioned the negotiations on democratic and human rights advances on the island.

The European Union called on the Cuban government to respect human rights and carry out economic reforms to improve living conditions on the island.

These petitions are part of the new “common position” on Cuba, approved Monday in Brussels by the European Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
In the document, the European Union reiterates that its “objectives” in relation to the island are respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the transition to a democratic system and the implementation of economic reforms.