Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Latin America and Global Economic and Finance Agenda (Update)

Wedn., Jan. 14:

U.S. -- December Retail Sales (8 a.m. NYT): It may take an awful number to spark another round of market declines.

U.S. -- EIA Oil Inventories Estimate (10:30 a.m. NYT): This may hep determine the short-term trend for oil prices in global markets.

U.S. -- Beige Book (2 p.m. NYT): Anecdotal evidence gathered by the different Federal Reserve branches will show a marked deterioration of business confidence, job declines and, perhaps, deflation signs. Worth following it closely.

CHILE -- Monetary Policy Report (7 a.m. NYT): Most analysts expect the Chilean Central Bank to unveil a new stance on growth and inflation scenarios. The bank trimmed its target interest rate by 1 percentage point to 7.25 percent at its first meeting of this year.

MEXICO -- October Global Economic Indicator (3 p.m. NYT): Most numbers showed a decline in economic activity during October. The central bank, which acknowledged an economic contraction in the last quarter of 2009, is poised to cut interest rates agressively, according to banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

PANAMA -- December Inflation Rate (N.A)

Thu., Jan. 15:

PERU -- November Growth Figures, Unemployment Data (6:30 a.m. NYT): The Peruvian economy, the fastest growing in South America, probably underwent a deceleration of activity not as dramatic as Brazil's or Colombia's. Investors should look closely at data picturing the activity in construction (labour-intensive sector) and mining (the main source of export revenue and a driver for investment.)


Fri., Jan. 16:

BRAZIL -- November Retail Sales (6 a.m. NYT): Don't forget that most business and consumer confidence surveys took a plunge in November, so the situation for retailers is about to go awry. There is full consensus that retailing reverted course in the fourth quarter. The monthly reading should show some increase in sales of basic items such as foodstuffs (as inflation of those goods is starting to slow) and point to a drop in sales of credit-financed items such as appliances and cars.

MEXICO -- November Industrial Output (3 p.m. NYT): Industrial output probably recorded its seventh straight monthly drop.

MEXICO -- Monetary Policy Meeting (10 a.m. NYT): Banco de Mexico will cut interest rates and signal a downward trend on borrowing costs because the economy is faltering and the government will freeze fuel prices. Full stop.

Wedn. Jan. 20

COLOMBIA -- Comcel Holds Bondholder Meeting to Cancel Bond Registration (3:30 p.m. NYT): Comcel, the Colombian wireless operator, seeks apporval from bondholders to delist five series of bonds worth 750 billion pesos.

Credit Crunch, Brazil Commodity Producers and Defaults: The Case of Arantes

In September last year, Finance Minister Guido Mantega, a sort of a financial markets Criswell (remember the character of the Ed Wood movie known for his bizarre predictions?) said for the last time that Brazilian companies would remain insulated from the impact of the global credit crunch. Unfortunately I don't have that exact quote with me at the moment. Well, Mr. Criswell, Bingo! companies in your nation are struggling to refinance their debts.



Since mid-June, credit ratings agencies have downgraded the credit outlook on almost two dozen Brazilian companies, mainly commodity producers and banks specialised in middle-market and consumer lending. Commodity producers are struggling with the worst price rout in three decades. Although cash holdings among Brazilian commodity producers seemed to be a few months ago in relatively good shape, the fact that borrowing costs surged in the past ten months meant they had to use more of their cash to meet debt payments. Commodity and food companies were said to be restructuring millions of dollars in loans and bonds. Since November, several ethanol producers were forced to invoke judicial recovery filings in Brazil, the equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the U.S.


The case of Arantes is the latest in this long list of credit market casualties. Arantes filed for bankruptcy recovery last week. According to Fitch, which downgraded Arantes ratings to D from CC (default), the company failed to meet interest payments $150 million of senior unsecured notes due 2013. The instalment was about $8 million. Fitch says ''Arantes' filing is a result of the company's inability torollover short term lines of credit, as well as financialobligations created by reported derivative loses of about 230 million reais.''


The bottomline is, many more companies will likely have to invoke this figure to avert running out of cash. The losses to bondholders will be immense, not only because of the default but the tendency by Brazilian courts to proects bad borrowers and hurt creditors. What is Mr. Mantega going to do to reinforce confidence that these events don't happen again? Nothing. In his mind, there is no room for contract respect, and the longer the period for judicial recovery, the bigger the chance the companies will keep workers on their headcount and all that bla bla bla.

Ecuador Pays Interest on 2015 Bond -- The Question Remains, What the Hell Are These Guys Doing? (Correct)

(A reader called Stephan kindly made me realise that the photo I added last night was one of another person, not Viteri. I removed the picture and got rid of a photo caption. My sincere apologies to you, dear reader.)

Today, Ecuador said it would pay interest on the 2015 bonds -- hours before the 30-day grace period for the payments expired. As we said in this blog last month, the move is a quite peculiar one: the 2015 bonds were sold to pay for an amortization of the 2012 securities, which a committee formed by President Rafael Correa (a.k.a Studmuffin as nicknamed by brother blog Inca Kola News) deemed illegal a couple of months ago.

You, dear reader, may ask yourself: What the hell are these guys doing? Well, market participants with longer experience than you and me in the matter are wondering it too -- so don't feel bad about it. One thing I learned after covering Venezuela and friends for years is that every economic policy decision is one that has to submit to political principles. No matter how, no matter what. We mentioned this in our babyborn days as a blog, that rumours has it that Ecuador had bought back $850 million days after announcing its intention to fall behind on payments. We also said that one of the reasons to prevent Correa from making the default extensive to other debt instruments was the stake that the Venezuelan government had in some bonds. Well, you have one explanation why some bonds are illegal to the eyes of God and some others aren't.


Don't expect bondholders to be as lenient with Ecuador as they were with Argentina a few years ago. Click here to read our Dec. 15 posting on this issue. We said today (or yesterday?) that a proposal draft may hint a bond buyback at ridiculously low prices (Correa always praised the nasty way Argentines renegotiated terms of their bond debts in arrears,) and would seek to implement sweeping changes in covenants and terms for the remaining bonds. Goldman Sachs wrote this morning that a debt swap might be possible because the government is falling into a financial bind as oil prices decline. For the time being, the Ecuadoreans ''can count on multilateral loans, domestic savings, and the financial support of friendly countries´´ as sources of dollars, according to Goldman.

Un Artículo Para Reflexionar Sobre el Conflicto en Gaza

José Gandour, director del site www.zonagirante.com, escribe esta nota sobre el conflicto en Gaza para reflexionar sobre las expresiones de apoyo hacia ambos lado, que generalmente derivan en actitudes guerreristas.

Una simple opinión pidiendo la paz.

Debo decir algo antes de ponerme a dar un aburrido discurso sobre lo que veo en Gaza, después de todos estos días de fuerte debate: Soy judío por el lado materno. Mi abuelo Schlomo, nacido en Vilnius, Lituania, antes de llegar a América y traer a la que iba ser su mujer desde su ciudad natal, hizo parte de una de las grandes migraciones europeas que llegaron al actual Israel a principios del siglo veinte. Hizo parte de un kibutz naciente, antes de salir de territorio regido por los británicos en busca de un futuro económico que le permitiera sacar a su familia de un continente que pronto iba a sufrir las consecuencias del nazismo. También soy árabe, por el lado paterno. Mi abuelo, cuya familia era cristiano-libanesa, nació en Jaffa, el lugar donde se celebró en 1906 el jubileo del Sultán Abdulhamid II, y de donde salió un grupo de judios hacia el norte a fundar Tel Aviv. Luego él migro a El Salvador y luego a Honduras seguramente con las mismas esperanzas que mi abuelo Schlomo.


Estudié durante mi infancia y adolescencia en un colegio donde recibí educación judía, y en el cual, durante los últimos años de bachillerato, tuve muchas discusiones sobre Israel, preguntando siempre sobre los derechos de los palestinos. Había mucho de rebeldía tempranera en mi actitud, pero también un poco de sentido común frente a lo que observaba. Viendo a través del espejo retrovisor, me siento afortunado y, a su vez, obligado por ese pasado que me envuelve, a escuchar lo que ha dicho cada parte durante mis años de vida. Mis antecedentes me obligan a creer en el diálogo constante entre los rivales, en busca de la convivencia. Fue bueno haber vivido en Israel un año después de graduarme, ya que fue tener contacto real con lo que pasaba en ese territorio. Llegué en plena invasión al Líbano y me di cuenta que gran parte de la población israelí se oponía a lo que sucedía durante esa guerra, llamada irónicamente “Paz en Galilea”.

Lo que más lamentaba la gente que se manifestaba en las calles, en las marchas organizadas por el movimiento local Paz Ahora es que el ejército israelí estaba lleno de gente soberbia cuya actitud perseguía mas una gloria violenta más que la defensa de sus intereses. Cada bando, no importando su fortaleza, en cada enfrentamiento de cualquier guerra tiene ese tipo de personajes, esos que persiguen la aniquilación del enemigo por encima del respeto al ser humano. Hubo tiempos mejores, hubo tiempos de esperanza, donde esa soberbia se dejó de lado y se sentaron los enemigos a conversar y expresar sus necesidades, donde hubo momentos cercanos a los acuerdos. Todo antes de que los interesados de las masacres, estropearan el camino andado, luciendo banderas resentidas y gritando encendidos discursos donde siempre había recuerdos del pasado que no permitían el perdón del contrario.

Lamento todo lo que sucede en este momento en Gaza. Veo la caída de cientos de civiles atrapados entre el fuego indiscriminado del lado israelí y la burda y fatal utilización que hace de sus cuerpos, vivos o muertos, que lleva a cabo Hamas El criticar la actual actitud israelí no me hace caer en el discurso facilista, estúpido e ignorante de tachar a Israel de “estado nazi”. Perdonen amigos “progresistas”, los veo vitorear a Hamas, creyendo que son los dignos representantes del pueblo palestino, cuando en el fondo sabemos que lo único que les impide exterminar a sus enemigos es su falta de recursos (tiran misiles de corto alcance a Sderot y a Beersheva, porque no tienen a su alcance armas más poderosas. Si tuvieran la bomba atómica ya la hubieran tirado en Tel Aviv o Haifa y hubieran celebrado públicamente con la sangre de su enemigo en sus manos). Hamas es una fuerza retrógrada, que aboga por la inferioridad femenina, que justifica la crucifixión para los “infieles” y que, desde su creación, ha luchado por el exterminio judío, ignorando todo intento de negociación con su contraparte, y que ni siquiera respeta la vida de quienes comparten su espacio geográfico (¿nadie ha entendido que la culpa de esas muertes también está en el uso estratégico que hace esta organización de quienes los rodean, de sus escuelas, de sus hospitales, de sus hogares?)

El decir esto, de todos modos, no me impide criticar las decisiones israelíes, creyendo que al haber sido víctima de genocidios pasadas y sufrir el constante acoso de sus enemigos, debía cobrar “ojo por ojos, diente por dientes”. Ha igualado en sus disparos a milicianos y a despistados, a agentes armados y a niños desprotegidos. Han caído demasiados muertos por ello. Su imagen se deteriora y la suma de cadáveres le quita validez a su discurso de defensa. Estudiando la historia israelí, veo la diversidad de sus protagonistas. No me siento para nada identificado con personajes de funesto pasado como Ariel Sharon o criminales de lengua larga como Meir Kahane y otros de su calaña, que siempre lucharon por impedir los esfuerzos de paz de otros tiempos. En cambio, extraño a gente valiente como Yitzhak Rabin, que después de estar en el campo de batalla, entendió la necesidad de sentarse a hablar con el enemigo, y escuchar lo que tenía que decir, para entender qué camino tomar para acabar la violencia entre los bandos. Debemos lamentar la caída de civiles, del lado que sean. Debemos exigir, no importando donde nos hallemos, el diálogo urgente entre las partes. No podemos seguir perdonando las acciones bélicas de ninguno de los lados involucrados. Esto no se trata de tomar parte de un lado o de otro. Debemos (y no es un reclamo ingenuo ni perezoso, al contrario, requiere de mucha valentía, paciencia e información) exigir la paz.

Como dice el comunicado de la organización no gubernamental Avaaz “necesitamos con urgencia exhortar a la acción para detener definitivamente la violencia y proteger a los civiles”. Para finalizar, hay un dato que todos los radicales ignoran: más del 70% de los palestinos reconoce la existencia del estado israelí y más del 70% de los israelíes reconoce la necesidad de la creación de un estado palestino independiente. Eso, en medio de la guerra, da una señal clara que la mayoría de la población de cada una de las partes involucradas quiere acabar ya con este conflicto. Nosotros, como el resto del planeta, debemos crear el ambiente para que esto se dé de una vez por todas, dejar de decir estupideces.

http://www.josegandour.com

Latin America Economic and Financial Agenda -- Week of Jan. 12 (Update)

Tue., Jan. 13:
ARGENTINA -- December Inflation Rate (1 p.m. NYT): The inflation rate (remember that in Argentina data has been openly adulterated) will decline, analysts at IDEAGlobal, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup predicted. The economy is heading for recession.
MEXICO -- Contractual Wages Report (3 p.m. NYT)
COLOMBIA -- Uribe to be Condecorated by U.S. President Bush, Announcements on Trade Deal May Come (1 p.m. NYT): Well, that BS medal isn't important. But Bush or Uribe may try to revive interest on the passage of the free trade agreement.


Wedn., Jan. 14:
CHILE -- Monetary Policy Report (7 a.m. NYT): Most analysts expect the Chilean Central Bank to unveil a new stance on growth and inflation scenarios. The bank trimmed its target interest rate by 1 percentage point to 7.25 percent at its first meeting of this year.
MEXICO -- October Global Economic Indicator (3 p.m. NYT): Most numbers showed a decline in economic activity during October. The central bank, which acknowledged an economic contraction in the last quarter of 2009, is poised to cut interest rates agressively, according to banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
PANAMA -- December Inflation Rate (N.A)

ECUADOR -- Finance Minister Viteri May Announce Draft Renegotiation Proposal on Defaulted Debt (N.A.): Rumours has it that the government may propose buying back debt at low prices and urge a change in covenants and contractual terms. Viteri will also say somethign regarding the coupon payment of the 2015 bonds.

Thu., Jan. 15:
PERU -- November Growth Figures, Unemployment Data (6:30 a.m. NYT): The Peruvian economy, the fastest growing in South America, probably underwent a deceleration of activity not as dramatic as Brazil's or Colombia's. Investors should look closely at data picturing the activity in construction (labour-intensive sector) and mining (the main source of export revenue and a driver for investment.)


Fri., Jan. 16:
BRAZIL -- November Retail Sales (6 a.m. NYT): Don't forget that most business and consumer confidence surveys took a plunge in November, so the situation for retailers is about to go awry. There is full consensus that retailing reverted course in the fourth quarter. The monthly reading should show some increase in sales of basic items such as foodstuffs (as inflation of those goods is starting to slow) and point to a drop in sales of credit-financed items such as appliances and cars.
MEXICO -- November Industrial Output (3 p.m. NYT): Industrial output probably recorded its seventh straight monthly drop.
MEXICO -- Monetary Policy Meeting (10 a.m. NYT): Banco de Mexico will cut interest rates and signal a downward trend on borrowing costs because the economy is faltering and the government will freeze fuel prices. Full stop.

Ecuador, Mr. Correa and The Bonds (Update)

Ecuadorean Finance Minister Maria Viteri is likely to announce this week (exactly on Jan. 14) a draft proposal to renegotiate payments on the defaulted Global 2012 and 2030 bonds (Am I being too optimistic? We have to give these people the benefit of the doubt, I guess.) But remember, dear reader, dear bondholder: If you are an owner of the 2015 bond, be sure something may happen to the coupon payment you are entitled to on Jan. 15 (you have already waited 30 days for it ...)

One source in Quito told us that the proposal may hint a bond buyback at ridiculously low prices (President Rafael Correa, photo, always praised the Argentine renegotiation of debt in arrears -- a process that only bandits could have carried out in such a smooth way,) and may include important changes in covenants and terms for the remaining bonds. Goldman Sachs wrote this morning that a debt swap might be possible because the government is falling into a financial bind as oil prices decline.

For the time being, the Ecuadoreans ''can count on multilateral loans, domestic savings, and the financial support of friendly countries´´ as sources of dollars, Goldman Sachs says. As the shop suggests, Correa and his cronies have the ball on their side, for the moment.

Banco do Brasil Mulls Bond Sale to Bolster Capital

In a conference call yesterday with analysts, Banco do Brasil executive Rene Sanda said the company may sell bonds to bolster its capital equity, following the acquisition of 49.99 percent of rival Banco Votorantim (Click here to read Estado's story.) Certainly the bank will need to replenish cash, as it is bound to pay the Ermirio de Moraes family a sizzling 3.75 billion reais as the first installment for the Votorantim purchase. According to Sanda, BB's Basel indicators will fall from almost 13 percent to a bit less than 12.5 percent with the transaction -- the minimum required by Basel II is 11 percent.

Details on the nature of the transaction were spared from us, unfortunately. The bank may tap local markets -- in general banks tend not to issue the so-called debentures (or senior unsecured notes) in the domestic market, according to a São Paulo-based source who works in debt capital markets. Banco do Brasil may try to raise funds in international markets but remember that its standing among other banks in Brazil isn't the best -- investors see BB as target of political pressures, and many others say the bank is underperforming relative to its potential, size and market share.

Banco do Brasil, on the other hand, may have to ramp up indebtedness as it undertakes a race for acquisitions -- instigated by President Lula and his ideological followers. The Votorantim acquisition wasn't expensive (BB paid 1.3 times Votorantim's reported market value in exchange for an increase in market share of system assets to 19.7 percent from 18.2 percent.) These numbers include its also recent purchase of São Paulo-based lender NossaCaixa. Nevertheless, expansion is costly and for the moment it may turn out even more expensive because of the slowdown and its side-effects in terms of credit asset quality.

Inca Kola News and Bloomberg's Venezuela Story


Inca Kola News makes a good and fair point here. If the story here is about an implicit devaluation, then the simple existence of a currency black market would have meant per se an implicit devaluation per secula secularum. That is, in the opinion of IKN (I guess) and this blog, not necessarily true. President Hugo Chavez (photo) insists on that the attacks on his fixed currency system are politically-motivated, of course, but his agenda is contaminated and his point of view biased too. Click here to read Bloomberg's story on the de facto devaluation.

I might be wrong about this, but the media tends to see a black market as an evil situation, and not as a mechanism of correction that economic agents are forced or want to create to ease market imbalances. The black market wins its strength and relevance in Venezuela's economic life because it helps fund a number of importing activities that the government deems it as irrelevant to finance, and because the government uses it as a political tool to award cronies with cheap dollars and punish foes with no access to foreign currency. On the other hand, it is an element of speculation because, in the back of high inflation and dwindling confidence on the future of the economy, the dollar automatically becomes a hedge instrument for Venezuelans (there is an interesting study by economist Emilio Herrera Smith about that.) It provides a valve of scape. It reflects growing imbalances, nothing else -- it cannot signal whether a country is already devaluing. That, and I guess that's why Otto says it vehemently, reads like a message sent from the opposing side to the government, a message from the other agenda. Now, don't believe that I am biting the hand that fed me for years. The story is nice, well written. But the problem is that evidence is forced in such way to make the message sound true. I have to agree with Otto in this one.

Here is the text from Otto's posting this morning:

Venezuelan finances for dummies

I suppose this kind of article has its uses for people who don't follow Venezuelan affairs much. On the other hand, here we are with another politically biased Bloomberg note about Venezuela finances that manages to quote only anti-gov't talking heads and even makes the gov't comments sound snide. Look....it's Bloomberg...why should you expect balance anyway?

Earlybird, Jan. 13, 2008

News headlines for Tue., Jan. 12:

MARKETS -- Bankruptcy Financing Costs Seen Skyrocketing (Reuters): Excellent story by Reuters, that goes straight at the core of second-round problems in the current crisis. It will be costlier than ever, Reuters says, for companies to obtain financing and keep operating during bankruptcy proceedings. ''Restructuring experts say the financing markets have been exceedingly difficult to navigate.´´ Jesus ... what a crisis! you cannot even die -- your death costs your family more than keeping you alive!

BRAZIL -- Bradesco Names Trabucco as Successor to CEO Marcio Cypriano (Valor): The bank is in a process of succession that allowed Marcio Cypriano to take over from Lazaro Brandão almost a decade ago. Luiz Carlos Trabucco is the mastermind behind the growth in the insurance unit of Bradesco -- the largest in Latin America these days. His challenge is to grow organically or through acquisitions in a market where consolidation is expensive and tricky.

BRAZIL -- Pension Funds Lost More Than $10 Billion in Market Rout (Estado): The business group representing pension funds estimated that average returns in the industry were close to 3 percent negative. Savers are a bit poorer -- following four years of irrational exuberance. The thing to fear is that the Brazilian small investor loses faith in capital markets and decides to, like Colombians, pour their money into less orthodox investment alternatives -- like pyramids. One aspect that market people ought to worry during a crisis of this proportions (and they usually don't do) is the impact that losses have on citizen's perception about market institutions.

BRAZIL -- Real is Most Volatile Currency Among Sample of 48 Currencies (Folha): Good news for those who love currency volatility. The real fluctuated 48 percent from peak to trough in the past three months. ''It's like an electrocardiogram,´´ said the analyst responsible for the study.

COLOMBIA -- Pyramid Scheme Company Raised Illegally More Than $200 Million (Tiempo): In another episode of regulatory failure, prosecutors found by accident that Costa Caribe, a pyramid company based in a town close to capital city Bogota, raised more than $200 million from a little less than 20,000 investors. If this scandal doesn't hit President Alvaro Uribe's image, well, he is simply unbeatable.

U.S. -- Bush Asks for Rest of Bailout Money; Congress Somehow Resists Pressure (WSJ): I guess Congress members are right. Why do American taxpayers have to keep wasting their money to save a financial system that is simply taking too long to clean up its balance sheets? Citigroup Inc. shares dropped yesterday more than 17 percent on concern losses exceeded $10 billion in the fourth quarter. I mean, what is this Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit still doing there? That bank should be taken over and its assets broken up -- the same way those three banks did with ABN Amro of the Netherlands last year.

Emerging Market Debt Sales: So Far, Investor Demand Remains Strong, Yields Accessible

The recent bout of emerging market bond sales by sovereign issuers and the South Korean Export-Import bank (Kexim) signaled that the borrowers took advantage of the window of opportunity of the first week of 2009. Good news: investors have become selective and are discriminating the good from the bad. Yields have been moderately higher, yet accessible and affordable for the borrowers (Check the table below.)

According to ING Bank and Barclays Capital, we are likely to see new issues from Indonesia, Vietnam and possibly South Korea. In Latin America, Peru and Chile are lining up for sales when the markets look more favourable. Given that, more than $8 billion of sovereign bonds may be offered by Latin companies this year (my estimate.) Barclays analysts write that ''naturally, high-beta credits, such as Argentina, Venezuela, Ukraine and Pakistan, are unlikely to face welcoming markets in the near term.´´ Those countries are likely to replace bond financing with spare fiscal resources, savings or multilateral loans, the shop says.






Latin America Economics and Finance Agenda -- Week of Jan. 12

I will be brief. This is a product I would like to develop properly, and I might need your help, dear reader. if you have any market-sensitive events you want us to add to this list, please send me a mail to parrabernal@gmail.com. Newswires have their own, but Market Memorandum is here to innovate, not to copy them! Therefore, we want your suggestions and help to make this work. I will try to keep this properly updated. Politics, arts, finance, economic releases, market conferences ... Feel free to contibute to this.

Tue., Jan. 13:
  • ARGENTINA -- December Inflation Rate (1 p.m. NYT): The inflation rate (remember that in Argentina data has been openly adulterated) will decline, analysts at IDEAGlobal, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup predicted. The economy is heading for recession.
  • MEXICO -- Contractual Wages Report (3 p.m. NYT)
  • COLOMBIA -- Uribe to be Condecorated by U.S. President Bush, Announcements on Trade Deal May Come (1 p.m. NYT): Well, that BS medal isn't important. But Bush or Uribe may try to revive interest on the passage of the free trade agreement.
Wedn., Jan. 14:

  • CHILE -- Monetary Policy Report (7 a.m. NYT): Most analysts expect the Chilean Central Bank to unveil a new stance on growth and inflation scenarios. The bank trimmed its target interest rate by 1 percentage point to 7.25 percent at its first meeting of this year.
  • MEXICO -- October Global Economic Indicator (3 p.m. NYT): Most numbers showed a decline in economic activity during October. The central bank, which acknowledged an economic contraction in the last quarter of 2009, is poised to cut interest rates agressively, according to banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
  • PANAMA -- December Inflation Rate (N.A)
Thu., Jan. 15:

  • PERU -- November Growth Figures, Unemployment Data (6:30 a.m. NYT): The Peruvian economy, the fastest growing in South America, probably underwent a deceleration of activity not as dramatic as Brazil's or Colombia's. Investors should look closely at data picturing the activity in construction (labour-intensive sector) and mining (the main source of export revenue and a driver for investment.)
Fri., Jan. 16:

  • BRAZIL -- November Retail Sales (6 a.m. NYT): Don't forget that most business and consumer confidence surveys took a plunge in November, so the situation for retailers is about to go awry. There is full consensus that retailing reverted course in the fourth quarter. The monthly reading should show some increase in sales of basic items such as foodstuffs (as inflation of those goods is starting to slow) and point to a drop in sales of credit-financed items such as appliances and cars.
  • MEXICO -- November Industrial Output (3 p.m. NYT): Industrial output probably recorded its seventh straight monthly drop.
  • MEXICO -- Monetary Policy Meeting (10 a.m. NYT): Banco de Mexico will cut interest rates and signal a downward trend on borrowing costs because the economy is faltering and the government will freeze fuel prices. Full stop.

Blog About Perú Media, Politics and General News ... Recommended!!!

The recommendation of the day, dear reader, querido lector, caro leitor, is this blog by Peruvian journalist Jacqueline Fowks: ''NOTAS DESDE LENOVO´´ is called and here is the link to it: http://notasdesdelenovo.wordpress.com

Jacqueline, a former Peru and Brazil correspondant for Mexican newspaper Reforma, says of her blog: ''Describo el blog como un lugar para 'referir lo poco visto en los medios.' Principalmente cubro política peruana, pero eventualmente encontrarás otros asuntos también: medios, música, salud pública ...´´ I won't translate her words -- the blog is written in Spanish so, dear reader, get used to Jacqueline's affable but sharp and concise Spanish writing. Click on the link, go and enjoy it! In a short but effective note, Jacqueline warns of growing unrest between landowners, the manpower of foreign investors and indigenous people as the government, thirsty of new foreign investment, demands little from Chinese investors who may behave in Peruvian land like anything else but guests. In another note, she unveils details of the Monterrico mining company scandal and some secrets of its CEO, former U.K. ambassador Mr. Ralph. Another favourite of this blog, Inca Kola News, wrote a long story over the weekend detailing some dark aspects of Mr. Ralph's personality and the scandal (including the death of an indigenous man.)

One final note about Notas desde Lenovo. Last night, I read her blog and found out a sad news: the passing of Mary Powers, a former Reuters and The Economist writer in Peru. I remembered that night of May 2004 when she invited me over for dinner to her house, where a dozen members of the international and local press gathered, had some glasses of wine and ate delicious Peruvian dishes. She was one of the first people who introduced me to some journalists I still maintain contact with. Rest in peace dear Mary, and thanks for your warmth and journo spirit.