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Macri spoke after hosting the summit of the Group of 20 that ended on Saturday with the agreement of all the leaders regarding the final declaration

Latin America

President Mauricio Macri said that Argentina is on the right track to forge a strong rebound next year after overcoming a financial crisis in 2018.

“Argentina is in a much better situation than 12 months ago,” Macri told Bloomberg TV in an interview on Monday in Buenos Aires.

“We have significantly reduced our deficit, next year we will balance the primary budget and we have already financed all our needs through the International Monetary Fund program, which marks a great, big difference,” he said.

Macri spoke after hosting the summit of the Group of 20 that concluded on Saturday with the agreement of all the leaders regarding the final declaration, unlike the G-7 meeting in June, in which the president of The United States, Donald Trump, withdrew its support.

There were no violent protests in the Argentine capital, which contrasted with the incidents recorded in last year’s G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, and the US. and China declared a temporary truce to their trade war.

More than just a host, the Argentine leader also held a marathon of bilateral meetings with leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Trump, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi.

Elected in 2015, this year has been possibly the most difficult of Macri. A monetary crisis led the country into a recession and forced the head of state to seek help from the IMF, which granted the nation a record credit line of US $ 56 billion. A severe drought, massive sales in the global market, zigzagging policies and communication errors triggered the fall of the peso, which reaches 49 percent this year, the most pronounced of the emerging markets.

Possibilities for reelection
The economic slowdown puts obstacles in Macri’s path towards reelection next year. The approval of his government is at its lowest level since he took office and consumer confidence fell to its lowest point in 16 years in November.

After his government began this year with an inflationary target of 15 percent, prices are expected to rise 47% in December with respect to the same month of 2017, warns Bloomberg.

Thinking about the October elections, the president promised to maintain simplicity: “Continue telling the truth, continue collaborating with my citizens and showing them that this is the only way. This G20 helped a lot, because all the leaders who visited us at the summit and at the 17 bilateral meetings we had agreed that we are making the right reforms. “

Ecuador announces Alba exit and criticizes Venezuelan crisis

Economics | Latin America | Politics

Ecuador announced on Thursday its exit from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in response to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, a country from which progressively has been distancing since Lenin Moreno came to the Presidency.

“Ecuador will not continue its participation in the ALBA,” Foreign Minister Jose Valencia announced today in an appearance in which he explained that his country wants to “reinforce” the search for a solution to the political problem in that country and to the massive exodus of Venezuelans.

The decision was announced at a meeting of several Ecuadorian ministers with media at the Carondelet Palace, headquarters of the Presidency, which addressed the problem of the massive flow of Venezuelans who have arrived in the country since the beginning of the year.

Valencia stressed that it is a problem that can not be “addressed by a country individually”, but requires “a response from all the nations of the region,” and that Ecuador’s exit from ALBA is precisely what it is about. boost that solution.

“The departure of Venezuelan citizens from their country is the result of Venezuela’s economic and political crisis. The repercussions are regional, however, Ecuador will always be in solidarity, “warned the head of Ecuadorian diplomacy.

But he described as “inhumane” the action of the Venezuelan Government for allowing millions of people to leave the country as a result of a political, economic and social crisis, and exposed the notorious frustration of their country “for the lack of political will, first place, of the Government of Venezuela to open the doors to a democratic solution “.

A criticism of Venezuela that has been rising in recent months, particularly since Minister of Foreign Affairs María Fernanda Espinosa left the Foreign Ministry in June, from the most left wing of the Executive.

Under the new chancellor, Moreno’s government seems to take new directions in foreign policy, far from those of its predecessor, Rafael Correa.

Even so, Valencia explained that Ecuador maintains “a principled position” and that it does not align with those of “no particular group in the proposal that the problem of Venezuelans be solved among them, in the democratic framework.”

He also assured that the departure of Ecuador from the ALBA does not mean the intention to join any other regional integration organization.

ALBA was created in 2004 as a mechanism for the cooperation of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean based on solidarity and complementarity of national economies, in an alternative to the Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAA) promoted in its moment for the United States.

The minister indicated in that sense that with the decision to leave the bloc, what is being sought is to “ratify the independence” of his country in “its general action in regional politics, an action marked in principles”.

According to data released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2.3 million Venezuelans are living outside their country, of which more than 1.6 million they have abandoned it since 2015.

“90% has gone to South American countries,” according to a press release.

The head of Ecuadorian diplomacy said that it is the “greatest exodus of people in the recent history of Latin America” and recalled the initiative of his country to convene a regional technical meeting on September 17 and 18 in Quito.

This is within the belief, according to the minister, that “only a democratic stability (in Venezuela) will produce economic stability that prevents the continuation of the exodus of its citizens.”

And he clarified, explaining the position of his country, that Ecuador must give a humanitarian and full response to a situation that is “emerging and unprecedented.”

As for the measure of requesting a passport to Venezuelan citizens since August 18, he said that after a meeting with the Venezuelan deputy foreign minister for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alexander Yánez, they considered it necessary to provide travel documents.

Valencia stressed that the action of requesting the passport was communicated in advance to UNHCR and the UN, in order to verify the identity of the persons.

In the same appearance, the Minister of the Interior, Mauro Toscanini, explained that “immigration control has been strengthened” in the steps of “Rumichaca, Huaquillas and Mascarilla”.

“There are 200 more policemen in Rumichaca and police support for buses that move with migrants and seven police points along the humanitarian corridor,” he said.

Why Amazon has not expanded in the large economies of Latin America as in other regions of the world

Economics | Latin America | Politics

If it is so huge in other regions of the world, why has it not expanded in the same way in the largest markets in Latin America?

The largest e-commerce company in the world is showing signs of plans to expand in the region.

With an emerging middle class with more purchasing power to satisfy their consumption needs, the Latin American market seems to be in Amazon’s sights.

But it is not easy.

One of the difficulties that the giant of Jeff Bezos has had to face is the presence of major competitors, such as the Argentine firm Mercado Libre, which has established itself as the leader in online sales in Latin America.

There are also other rivals such as B2W or Falabella that have a long experience in the sector and that have the logistical networks that allow the storage and distribution of the products sold on the web.

These and other great rivals “have learned to face challenges such as poor infrastructure that makes the delivery of products difficult, or the low percentage of bank accounts and credit cards,” tells BBC Mundo Fabiola Moura, Bloomberg analyst at Sao Paulo.

There is also the case of companies that traditionally made offline sales, such as Magazine Luiza in Brazil, which took a turn and made large technological investments, earning a significant portion of the electronic sales market.

The protectionist barriers
Big companies like Amazon or Alibaba have their eyes on Latin America, because there is a large growth space for electronic commerce, analysts say.

But breaking the barriers of entry is not easy.

“Amazon has had to deal with a lot of protectionism in markets like Brazil,” says Sucharita Kodali, principal analyst and e-commerce expert at consultancy Forrester, in conversation with BBC Mundo.

That would explain why the giant focused so much time on selling products as its Kindle e-reader with no hurry to expand into the other categories, as it has done elsewhere.

“The challenge for Amazon is that those markets are still mainly led by retail stores,” he adds.

The Argentine company that you have possibly used and that has just been sown in the 100 largest companies of the Nasdaq
How did Amazon so that its first supermarket, Amazon Go, has no ATMs or rows
And on the other hand, the idea that consumers can buy online all the products of all markets, is not that simple either.

“There are import restrictions and price differences,” explains Kodali.

Consulted by BBC World, Amazon said it did not have a spokesperson for Latin America or anyone with sufficient knowledge to deal with the matter.

The challenge of Brazil
With a population of more than 200 million, Brazil is a key market in its expansion strategy.

He came to the country in 2012 without causing much noise with the sale of electronic books and then with streaming movies. But six years after entering the largest economy in Latin America, Amazon has begun to diversify its offer.

Mercado Libre, the Argentine company that you have possibly used and that has just sneaked into the 100 largest companies of the Nasdaq

Economics | Latin America | Politics

If you live in Latin America and have ever wanted to sell or buy something online, you have probably used Mercado Libre.

The electronic commerce portal was created in 1999 by the Argentine Marcos Galperíny and his then partner Hernán Kazah.

It was a time in which doing business online still generated distrust and those who dared to try it took a thousand and one precautions when making the exchange.

But EBay did not operate then in Latin America.

So local alternatives such as Mercado Libre, which allow businesses and individuals to market items in exchange for a commission, had free land.

Many did not survive the dot-com crisis or they did not get the volume of users needed to achieve profitability.

Mercado Libre, on the other hand, has become the most valued company in Argentina with a market value of US $ 12,400 million.

A figure even higher than the US $ 10,000 of the YPF oil company, considered the largest company in the country.

This week, the portal marked a new milestone by entering the Nasdaq 100, the US stock index that brings together the most important companies in the industry sector, whether local or international.

An ally of EBay
Galperín, director of Mercado Libre, was an employee of YPF when he decided to go to the United States to take a master’s degree in business administration at the business school of Stanford University.

Immersed in the technological culture that surrounds this institution due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, he began working on the creation of Mercado Libre with Kazah before finishing his studies.

Yahoo: Why is it going so bad that it was one of the internet giants?
After obtaining the funds, they founded the company in Argentina.

It spread so rapidly to other countries in Latin America that EBay opted to join it instead of competing, buying shares in 2001, only two years after its birth.

Europe demands reciprocity from Mercosur to negotiate a free trade agreement

Latin America

Negotiations for a treaty between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) are “blocked,” said French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. In addition to the meeting of G20 ministers in Buenos Aires, Le Maire stressed that South American farmers should be subjected to the same demands as their European peers.

So far, both European and Mercosur emissaries spoke of progress in these discussions that are currently taking place in Paraguay, the country that presides over the bloc that is completed by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

“The negotiation with Mercosur is blocked for different reasons,” he said. “The decision of the South American countries is expected but for the moment it is blocked,” the minister said at a press conference in English.

“We believe in a free trade based on total reciprocity, which means that the rules applicable in France or in Europe, should be in Argentina or Brazil. If the rules are not equal, we must find a compensatory measure, “he said.

Le Maire, former Minister of Agriculture of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, said: “one can not explain to a producer that he must comply with very restrictive rules in France, in Germany, in Spain or in Italy if the same product is not made from the the same way in another continent. ”

Argentina gave a different version of the negotiations. Argentine Economy Minister Nicolás Dujovne estimated that an agreement between the parties can be reached before the end of the first half of the year.

The discussions between both blocks began almost 20 years ago. Europeans fear that their market will be invaded with agricultural products and South Americans that their industries will be harmed by goods manufactured in Europe.

Latin America will grow 2.6% on average in 2018/2020, according to the IDB

Latin America

Latin America and the Caribbean will grow 2.6% on average between 2018 and 2020, below global growth, due to low levels of investment and productivity, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said today when presenting its macroeconomic report.

Although the Latin American region grows again after two years of recession, it does so at a much lower pace than other regions, such as Asia and emerging Europe, which project growth of 6.5% and 3.7%, respectively in that same period.

The Latin American expansion, however, is unequal: it is expected that the Southern Cone (excluding Brazil) will present a growth rate of 2.9% in 2018-2020, that Mexico will grow 2.7% in that triennium; and that Brazil does it 2%.

“The good news is that most of the region has grown again,” said José Juan Ruiz, chief economist of the IDB, when he presented the first part of the report in the framework of the annual assembly of the organization that is being held these days. in Mendoza (Argentina).

Ruiz pointed out that “growth is not fast enough to satisfy the desires of the growing middle class” and stressed that “the biggest challenge is to increase the levels and efficiency of investments so that the region becomes more productive, grows in a faster and more stable and safeguard the region from external shocks. ”

Hundreds of economic and political leaders from the region attend the annual meeting of the Pan-American financial institution, which will last until this Sunday, March 25.

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.