Saturday, February 7, 2009

Latin America in the news

Good readings from the end of the week on Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia

1) Argentina Said to Change Loan Swap Terms for Overseas Investors - Bloomberg

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina plans to offer international investors terms in an exchange of government debt that differ from those given to domestic holders, a government official said.

The Economy Ministry is still developing the terms of the debt swap for foreign investors, according to the official, who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media. Overseas creditors will get a different bond than locals got in exchange for the so-called guaranteed loans they hold, the official said. The bonds will be denominated in foreign currency and will be subject to international law, the official said.

2) Chavez to Tap Into Development Fund for Spending (Update1) - Bloomberg

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela will spend $1.65 billion from its National Development Fund in the first quarter, as the oil-exporting country maintains public spending after a drop in crude prices, President Hugo Chavez said.

Venezuela plans to invest $225 billion in oil and non-oil projects over the next four years, Chavez said today in comments broadcast by state television. Venezuela’s socialist economic policies will help shield it from the effects of the global recession, he said.

3) Brazil to Cut Growth Forecast on Economic Slowdown (Update3) - Bloomberg

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil will reduce its growth forecast because of the global credit crunch and economic slowdown, Energy Minister Edison Lobao said.

Before recessions in the world’s largest economies, Brazil had expected average annual economic growth of 4.9 percent between 2008 and 2017, Lobao said today during public hearings on a revised 10-year energy plan. Revisions to the annual figures are expected in March or April.

4) Bolivia’s Gas Investors to Spend $530 Million in 2009 (Update1) - Bloomberg

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Bolivia’s energy minister said the country expects to boost oil and natural-gas investment to $530 million this year as ventures with Russia and Venezuela fill a void left by private investors.

Gazprom OAO, Russia’s natural-gas exporter, agreed to develop deposits in Bolivia’s gas-rich eastern lowlands, Bolivian Hydrocarbon and Energy Minister Saul Avalos said in an interview Feb. 4 at his La Paz office. Venezuela and Bolivia’s state oil companies plan to invest $240 million to explore in Bolivia.

“The amount of investment this year is higher than before the nationalization,” Avalos said.