Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Earlybird, Jan. 14, 2009

Headlines for Wedn. Jan. 14:
BRAZIL -- Photo of the Day: Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff's new look (Left): No one doubts now that she is on the race for the ruling party's 2010 presidential nomination. In a few months, we will spot changes in the tone of her voice; soon she will begin carrying babies in her arms, all that BS. In the meantime, Congress will remain paralysed, the PAC investment plans will continue facing delays and struggling with red tape and all that, and crime will remain high.

BRAZIL -- Trade Unions, Business Guilds Fail to Agree on Loosened Labour Rules (Estado): Well, the road to a more reasonable labour legislation is tough but the very disappointing jobless numbers of November seems to be scaring unions to death. Cia. Vale do Rio Doce CEO Roger Agnelli first proposed making rules more flexible in early December, alleging the global recession would force companies to shed jobs and shut plants. Labor laws stem from the early 1940s, and were conceived to please unions and make them hostage to government pressure. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva promised to overhaul them -- but changed his mind halfway through his first term. Now he will pay the price for it: apart from costing companies too much, labour rules are rigid and are an obstacle to the fight against income inequality.

U.S. -- Citigroup May Be Reduced by a Third (WSJ): Well, the legacy of Sandy Weill has gone up in smoke. The question remains -- will this scaled-down lender be able to sustain growth in Brazil? or in other Latin countries?

U.S. -- Obama Seeks Compromise With Lawmakers to Release TARP Funds (Bloomberg): Quick disbursement of the funds would allow President-elect Barack Obama tap the second half of a $700 billion financial-markets rescue fund just after taking office.

VENEZUELA -- Chavez Says Argentina Debt Purchases Rendered Country 'Decent Dividends´(Nacion): No comments on this one. After seeing what happened with Ecuador, let's see whether the Argentine government agrees to repay some defaulted bonds (Chavez, as a bondholder, might benefit from that.)

ECUADOR -- Correa Readies Land Reform Legislation That Includes Confiscation of Idle Farms (Comercio): Ecuador's agriculture minister visited Venezuela -- where land seizures became routine and were unjustified, as the case of Lord Vestey farms -- Colombia -- where land reform has been at the heart of a five-decade war, -- and Peru -- where rural inequality is outrageous, -- to draw what should be done. Uhhmm ...

COLOMBIA -- Better Late Than Never: Colombia Oil Output to Surge in 2009 (Tiempo): After four years of disappointing results in terms of exploration and extraction, domestic oil output may jump by 650,000 barrels/day in 2009. The problem is, the good news come as prices fell to the lowest in four or so years. No hay felicidad completa en la vida, we Colombians sometimes say.

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