Sunday, November 2, 2008

Latin America in focus: Commodities, food and South-South Cooperation (delayed post from Oct 30)

1) Brazil Petrobras agrees to explore for oil offshore Cuba – Benito's take

Brazil frequently enjoys assuming the role as a leader in the developing world of promoting South-South Cooperation.  This time the nation has agreed to help Cuba explore for oil and gas. Brazil's Petrobras is expected to sign an agreement with Cuba for deep-water oil and gas exploration during President Lula da Silva's two day visit to the island this week.

Cuban media is reporting both sides will “sign a contract for the production of hydrocarbons.” No further details have been reported, but the Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque has stated he “anticipates Cuba will sign in the presence of Lula da Silva a very important agreement for oil exploration in deep water.”

Although the details are shady at best, it no less is a sign of Brazil further developing its reach in promoting economic cooperation among developing nations, with the pretext of mutual economic development.

To read more about this development
check out this article published by Merco Press.

2) Petrobras Transpetro unit won't delay 49-tanker plan (update 2) courtesy of Bloomberg LP

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The transport unit of Petroleo Brasileiro SA will be able to maintain a 49-ship fleet expansion program because it has sufficient financing from a government fund and can ignore the world credit crunch, the unit's president said.

Brazil's Merchant Marine Fund, managed by state-development bank BNDES, has enough cash to pay the $2.5 billion needed for 26 tankers that have already been ordered, said Sergio Machado, president of Rio de Janeiro-based Transpetro, as the unit is known. The fund can also finance another 23 ships that will be ordered by the end of the year, he said.

State-controlled Petrobras, as Transpetro's parent is known, may delay some investments as oil prices fall and credit becomes scarce, Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli said Oct. 20. The credit crunch may force the cancellation of 20 percent of the deepwater oil rigs under construction, Brian Uhlmer, analyst at Pritchard Capital Partners in Houston, said.

``Everything regarding our shipbuilding program is defined and is part of Brazil's strategic plan,'' Machado said in a phone interview from his office. ``The Transpetro program is fully financed.''

Click here to access the full article from Bloomberg LP

3) Favorable 2009 beef export prospects for Brazil and Argentina, courtesy of Merco Press

Beef exports are forecast to rise nearly 2% during 2009 as gains by Brazil, Argentina and the United States outweigh downturns in Australian and New Zealand shipments according to the US Cattle network.

As the world’s leading trader Brazilian exports are forecast to spring back nearly 5% to over 2.0 million tons. Shipments are projected to decline in 2008 for the first time since 1996. However, by overcoming sanitary barriers, it is now poised to regain sales to Chile, EU-27 and other key markets...


In Argentina exports are forecast to expand 20% to 480,000 tons in 2009 after plummeting an expected 25% in 2008.

The rebound stems from the Argentine government setting a higher export quota, cattle and beef supplies not expected to be limited by farmer strikes, and thermo-processed product to be exported outside of the quota.

Click here to access the full article from Merco Press

4) Venezuela books 10.252 billion barrels more in oil reserves, courtesy of Dow Jones Newswires

Venezuela said Wednesday it was adding 10.251 billion barrels of crude to its national reserves as part of an ongoing review of its hydrocarbon reserves.

With this increase, the oil-rich country's total reserves now amount to 152.561 billion, making Venezuela the country with the second largest crude reserves, the Venezuelan oil ministry said in a statement.

Click here to access the full article from Rigzone

5) Chile trims 2008 copper output forecast again, courtesy of the Mining-Journal

Chile on Wednesday trimmed its 2008 copper output forecast for the second time since July, this time to 5.45Mt, citing operational issues but not slumping prices for the metal.

Limited financing due to the global credit crisis may delay or cancel some new projects, said Eduardo Titelman, executive vice-president of Chile`s state copper commission Cochilco, one of the world`s leading copper think-tanks.

Copper prices rose above US$2/lb on Wednesday, but they remained less than half the record levels of over US$4/lb hit in July. A global credit crunch and fears the world could enter a recession have hit demand for metals like copper, heavily used in the auto and construction industries.

Click here to access the full article from the Mining-Journal