What Brazil needs to really grow

By Solange Monteiro

MArcaFGV_IBRE_endossopaulo starkResilience and flexibility seem to be core beliefs of moderate optimist Paulo Stark, CEO of Siemens Brazil, when he talks about his business and Brazil’s economy. Stark, an engineer who began his career with Siemens more than two decades ago, sees investment intentions being rethought as a result of the escalation of the crisis of state-owned oil company Petrobras, which could benefit the logistics and electricity sectors. “That will cause a gap until new projects are developed, but it is not a permanent problem,” he says. However, to encourage new investments, he advocates both a concession model more open to private capital and longer-term planning for major infrastructure projects: “Sometimes we have the impression that Brazil needs a crisis to take a leap forward; now’s the time to jump to avoid being run over.” Continue reading “What Brazil needs to really grow”

Economic Climate Index for Latin America falls

MArcaFGV_IBRE_endossoThe Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI) – developed in partnership between the German Ifo Institute and the FGV taking as a data source the Ifo World Economic Survey (WES) – decreased by 6.3%, going to 75 points in January 2015 from 80 in October 2014. The decline stems from worsening of both ratings in relation to the current state of business and the expectations for the coming months: the Present Situation Index (PSI) fell 9.4% and the Expectations Index (EI) decreased 4.2%. All indicators are in unfavorable zone of the cycle and the general worsening means advance in the deterioration of the economic climate. Continue reading “Economic Climate Index for Latin America falls”

Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy

By Sim Tack

stratforLast week, the Cuban government declared that for the United States and Cuba to normalize relations, the United States would have to return the territory occupied by a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Washington clearly responded that returning the base is not on the table right now. This response makes sense, since quite a bit of politicking goes into the status of the base. However, the Guantanamo Bay issue highlights a notable aspect to the U.S.-Cuban negotiations — one that is rooted in the history of the U.S. ascension to superpower status as it challenged European powers in the Western Hemisphere. Continue reading “Guantanamo Bay’s Place in U.S. Strategy”

The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanLast week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to an exchange of prisoners being held on espionage charges. In addition, Washington and Havana agreed to hold discussions with the goal of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. No agreement was reached on ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba, a step that requires congressional approval. Continue reading “The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations”

Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Declines 23% in the First Half of 2014

latamForeign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries that have available data decreased by 23% during the first half of 2014 with respect to the same period last year, reaching a total of $84.071 billion dollars, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported. On a global level, however, FDI flows are forecast to grow 10% during 2014, mainly due to investments received by developed countries, the United Nations regional organization said. Continue reading “Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Declines 23% in the First Half of 2014”

Mexican Navy orders two more Damen vessels

damenmexicoIn August 2014 the Mexican Navy (Secretaría de Marina in Spanish) and Damen Shipyards Group (the Netherlands) signed contracts for the delivery of the design, material package, technical assistance and training for two vessels that will be built by the Mexican Navy, using the Damen Technical Cooperation programme, which enables customers to build their vessel on the location of their choice. Continue reading “Mexican Navy orders two more Damen vessels”

Ecuador buys two Damen Stan Patrol vessels

Damen_Stan_Patrol_VesselDamen has recently signed a contract with Astilleros Navales Ecuatorianos (Astinave) to construct two Damen SPa’s 5009 for the Ecuadorian Coastguard. The Ecuadorian shipyard will build both vessels locally with Damen Technical Cooperation, which is Damen’s method of ‘building on site’. Continue reading “Ecuador buys two Damen Stan Patrol vessels”

Van Oord gets orders in Brazil and Bahamas

logo-vanoordVan Oord has won two orders in Brazil and the Bahamas. The activities involve dredging work for the construction of a new shipyard in Aracruz, Brazil. The client is Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA), a Brazilian subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard from Singapore. In the Bahamas, three ports will be upgraded on the instructions of the Ministry of National Security as part of the Sandy Bottom Project. Both orders have a joint contract value of more than EUR 100 million The execution of both projects has already started. The project in Brazil will be completed in late 2014. The work in the Bahamas will be completed in early 2016.

Continue reading “Van Oord gets orders in Brazil and Bahamas”

ECLAC adjusts LatAm growth rates

latamLatin American and Caribbean countries will grow an average of 2.7% in 2014 due to limited dynamism of the region’s principal economies, according to new projections from ECLAC. The regional United Nations organization last week released its UpdatedEconomic Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013, which reviews information on the key economic variables of 2013 and presents new growth estimates for the region. Continue reading “ECLAC adjusts LatAm growth rates”

A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolShould Puerto Rico explore following Crimea into the Russian Federation? Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. We citizens much too often find ourselves in the position of supplicants to Washington rather than, at minimum, as dignified peers. Might there be a way to change this? Continue reading “A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?”

Mammoet moves Methanol Plant from Southern Chile to Louisiana

mammoetMammoet, the world’s leader in engineered heavy lifting and transport, has completed a project involving the heavy lifting, transportation and reassembly preparation of an entire methanol plant. The plant was moved from the most southern part of Chile to Louisiana, USA over a distance of 8,720 kilometers (5,450 miles). Continue reading “Mammoet moves Methanol Plant from Southern Chile to Louisiana”

Mexican Navy orders sixth Damen Stan Patrol 4207

damenmexicoThe Mexican Navy and Damen Shipyards Group signed another contract for a license, material package and technical assistance of a Damen Stan Patrol 4207. The agreement also includes crew training in the Netherlands. This contract, the sixth patrol vessel of the Tenochtitlan class, underlines the excellent ongoing relationship between the Mexican Navy (Secretaria de Marina or SEMAR), and Damen. As all five previous vessels, this vessel will be built in the Mexican Navy Yard ASTIMAR 1 in Tampico, a city and port on the Gulf of Mexico (Damen).

Mammoet turns Venezuelan Local Port into Heavy Lift Terminal


Mammoet, world leader in Engineered Heavy Lifting and Transport, has effectively turned the port of Güiria, Venezuela into a temporary Heavy Lift Terminal by employing its new Mammoet Terminal Crane, the MTC-15. The port of Güiria saw its need for heavy lifting increased after PDVSA, the Venezuelan National Oil Company, decided to build a new power plant 20 kilometers further inland. Continue reading “Mammoet turns Venezuelan Local Port into Heavy Lift Terminal”

Damen receives large Mexican order

damenmexMexican offshore company Naviera Integral and Damen Shipyards Group signed a contract for four more Damen Fast Crew Suppliers 5009 (FCS 5009). The first two vessels will be delivered from stock and will be handed over in Vietnam on April 16th of this year. The other two vessels will start construction soon, with their delivery planned for July 2015. All four vessels will operate in the Gulf of Mexico, under a direct contract from PEMEX, the Mexican state oil company. Continue reading “Damen receives large Mexican order”

Chinese COFCO takes controlling stake in Nidera

nideraCOFCO Corporation, the largest grain, oil and foodstuff company in China, and Nidera, a global commodity trader and agribusiness company headquartered in the Netherlands, signed an agreement, pursuant to which COFCO will acquire 51% of Nidera to establish a strategic partnership with this major player in the agricultural market with an annual turnover in excess of USD 17 billion. The envisaged transaction will provide Nidera with great potential for growth in the Chinese market and also strengthen COFCO’s position as a key player in the global agricultural industry through access to Nidera’s global origination and trading network and its fast growing seed business. Continue reading “Chinese COFCO takes controlling stake in Nidera”

Panama outlook favorable in spite of risks – IMF

panamacanalAn International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Panama City during February 11-21 to conduct the country’s annual consultations. The delegation concluded that Panama’s economic performance remains buoyant, outlook favorable, in spite of certain local and international risks. The IMF therefore thinks a tighter fiscal policy is recommended. Continue reading “Panama outlook favorable in spite of risks – IMF”

LatAm economic climate improves, Brazil’s worsens

latamThe Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI)  advanced, after having been stable in the last two surveys (July and October 2013). The 8% increase in the ECI (to 95 from 88 points) is explained by both the improvement in assessments of present conditions (PSI) and expectations (EI), but only the latter one went to the zone of favorable assessment. Furthermore, all three indicators are below the average of the last 10 years and, in addition, the region still has to improve its performance to ensure a stable growth trajectory. However, the result does not generalize to all countries in the region. Continue reading “LatAm economic climate improves, Brazil’s worsens”

Shell producing from new Mexican Gulf platform

shellShell has begun production from the Mars B development through Olympus – the company’s seventh, and largest, floating deep-water platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the first deep-water project in the Gulf to expand an existing oil and gas field with significant new infrastructure, which should extend the life of the greater Mars basin to 2050 or beyond. Combined future production from Olympus and the original Mars platform is expected to deliver an estimated resource base of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Continue reading “Shell producing from new Mexican Gulf platform”

New Shell CEO updates company’s priorities

shellSpeaking to investors today, new Shell CEO Ben van Beurden updated on the company’s priorities: improving Shell’s financial results and achieving better capital efficiency, as well as continuing to strengthen operational performance and project delivery. Continue reading “New Shell CEO updates company’s priorities”

IMF sees Peru’s economy as high growth leader

peruflagThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded its consultations with Peru this week. Peru’s economy continues to be a leader in high growth and low inflation in the region, which has been achieved through a prudent macroeconomic policy implementation, a far-reaching structural reform agenda and taking advantage of the benign external environment. Continue reading “IMF sees Peru’s economy as high growth leader”

LatAm’s Pacific Alliance highlighted at Davos

latamA panel entitled The Pacific Alliance Promise was held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was attended by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Peru’s Prime Minister César Villanueva, and Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín. At the gathering the panelists discussed the challenges of this alliance, formed by Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Continue reading “LatAm’s Pacific Alliance highlighted at Davos”

World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

worldbank-logo-enThe world economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis, says the World Bank’s newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. The firming of growth in developing countries is being bolstered by an acceleration in high-income countries and continued strong growth in China. However, growth prospects remain vulnerable to headwinds from rising global interest rates and potential volatility in capital flows, as the United States Federal Reserve Bank begins withdrawing its massive monetary stimulus. Continue reading “World Bank warns of emerging markets risks”

Shell completes Repsol S.A. LNG deal

shellRoyal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) completed the acquisition of Repsol S.A.’s (“Repsol”) liquefied natural gas (LNG) portfolio outside North America for a headline cash consideration of $4.1 billion. As part of the transaction, Shell will also assume $1.6 billion of balance sheet liabilities relating to existing leases for LNG ship charters, substantially increasing the shipping capacity available to Shell’s world-class LNG marketing business.  Continue reading “Shell completes Repsol S.A. LNG deal”

NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States

By Marc Lanthemann

northamericaThe 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation on Jan. 1 has revived some of the perennial arguments that have surrounded the bloc since its inception. The general consensus has been that the trade deal was a mixed bag, a generally positive yet disappointing economic experiment. That consensus may not be wrong. The history of the North American Free Trade Agreement as an institution has been one of piecemeal, often reluctant, integration of three countries with a long tradition of protectionism and fierce defense of economic national sovereignty. While NAFTA was a boon for certain sectors of the economy, particularly the U.S. agriculture industry, the net effect of the world’s second-largest trade bloc remains somewhat unknown. Continue reading “NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States”

Vopak divests in Ecuador and in Chile

logo_vopakRoyal Vopak by year’s end completed of the divestment of its equity interest in three terminals in Latin America. Vopak has divested its 50%-equity interest in Vopak Oxiquim – Mejillones Terminal (10,000 cbm for chemicals) in Chile to its existing joint venture partner Oxiquim S.A. Furthermore, Vopak has divested its 100%-equity interest in Vopak Terminal San Antonio (21,557 cbm for various products) in Chile, and its 50%-equity interest in Vopak Terminal Ecuador (19,376 cbm for various products), both to QC Terminales S.A.C. Continue reading “Vopak divests in Ecuador and in Chile”

Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014

terminalThe US, Germany, Poland and Mexico are among next year’s Best Countries for Business. Rotterdam Week in cooperation with Atlantico Business Development (an international consultancy based in Rotterdam) has selected the best 15 markets of 2014/15 for your direct investment or for exporting your products. Continue reading “Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014”

For 2014 Brazilian businesses expect to invest less and gain less

logoFGVThe October-November 2013 edition of the Investment Survey by the Getulio Vargas Foundation has obtained data from Brazilian industrial companies on the development in 2013 and expectations for 2014 regarding variables such as investment, employed personnel and sales. 758 companies were consulted, responsible for sales of R$ 534 billion.  Continue reading “For 2014 Brazilian businesses expect to invest less and gain less”

Nidera Uruguay wins at annual Export Awards

nideraNidera Uruguaya S.A. was awarded first place in the category of ‘modern dynamic export companies’ at the 2013 Export Awards in Uruguay. This annual event, which was attended by over 700 people this year, is organized by the Republic Bank and the Uruguayan Association of Exporters. Continue reading “Nidera Uruguay wins at annual Export Awards”

Mexico orders fifth Damen Patrol Vessel

damenmexicoIn November 2013 the Mexican Navy (Secretaría de Marina) and Damen Shipyards Group (the Netherlands) signed another contract for a Damen Stan Patrol 4207. The Mexican Navy already operates two similar Patrol Vessels and has currently two ships under construction in their shipyard ‘Astillero de Marina Numero 1’ in Tampico, which is situated on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading “Mexico orders fifth Damen Patrol Vessel”

Latin America to grow by 3.2% in 2014

latamThe economies of Latin America and the Caribbean will expand by 3.2% in 2014, which is higher than the 2.6% performance of 2013, according to a new ECLAC report launched today at a press conference in Santiago, Chile. Panama will lead the pack with a growth rate of 7% in 2014, while powerhouses like Brazil and Mexico are predicted to grow at 2,6% and 3,5% respectively. Continue reading “Latin America to grow by 3.2% in 2014”

The Netherlands among top countries in OECD’s global education survey

logooecd_enSome Asian countries as well as Switzerland and the Netherlands outperform the rest of the world in the OECD’s latest PISA survey, which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds. The OECD’s PISA 2012 tested more than 510,000 students in 65 countries and economies on maths, reading and science. The main focus was on maths. Math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults. It influences their ability to participate in post-secondary education and their expected future earnings. Continue reading “The Netherlands among top countries in OECD’s global education survey”

World Bank to improve Peru tourism

latamMore than one million people will benefit from improvements in tourism services, appropriate solid waste management and disaster protection and prevention measures in the areas of Cusco, Calca and Urubamba, thanks to a US$35 million project by the World Bank that forms part of a broader Cusco Regional Government program. Continue reading “World Bank to improve Peru tourism”

IMF sees Mexican economy on the right track

latamOn November 25, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Mexico. Over the last year, Mexico has maintained macroeconomic policy continuity, while pursuing an ambitious agenda of growth-enhancing reforms. Reforms have already been approved to upgrade education, make labor markets more flexible, and foster competition in telecommunications. Congress is currently debating a fundamental reform of the energy sector and is in the final stages of approving a financial sector reform. In October 2013, Congress modified the fiscal framework, reformed the main taxes and introduced a universal pension scheme and unemployment insurance. Continue reading “IMF sees Mexican economy on the right track”

Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

logooecd_enThe global economy is expected to continue expanding at a moderate pace over the coming two years, but policymakers must ensure that instability in financial markets and underlying fragility in some major economies are not allowed to derail growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. Growth in the United States is projected at a 2.9% rate in 2014 and a 3.4% rate in 2015. In Japan, GDP is expected to drop to a 1.5% growth rate in 2014 and a 1% rate in 2015. The euro area is expected to witness a gradual recovery, with growth of 1% in 2014 and 1.6% in 2015. Continue reading “Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead”

Economic Climate Index for Latin America remains stable

latamThe Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI) – developed in partnership between the German Ifo Institute and the FGV taking as a data source the Ifo World Economic Survey (WES) – repeated in October the result of the last survey in July (4.4 points). The stability was determined by the combination of worsening in the Ifo/FGV Present Situation Index (PSI) (to 4.0 from 4.5 points) and improvement of the Ifo/FGV Expectations Index (EI) (to 4,8 from 4.3 points). Despite the improvement in expectations, both indicators were below the historical average of the last ten years, remaining in the zone of unfavorable assessing. Continue reading “Economic Climate Index for Latin America remains stable”

LatAm container handling growing at lower pace

latamThe region’s sluggish exports and slower growth prospects for the world economy carried over from late 2012 have accentuated the slowdown in port activity during the first half of 2013, according to ECLAC figures. Panama’s Colon is still leading the region’s container ports, followed by Santos (Brazil) and in third place Balboa (also Panama). Both Panamian ports lost a bit of ground, while Santos kept growing. The first trio is closely followed by Mexico’s Manzanillo, with a growth of almost 10%. Continue reading “LatAm container handling growing at lower pace”

Latin American and Caribbean unemployment rate could fall to 6.2% in 2013

latamThe Latin American and Caribbean region could end the year with an urban unemployment rate of between 6.2% and 6.3%, which would be slightly lower than 6.4% recorded in 2012, according to the latest projections from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Continue reading “Latin American and Caribbean unemployment rate could fall to 6.2% in 2013”

IMF urges Surinam to take measures to avoid boom-bust cycle

International_Monetary_Fund_logo_svgOn September 30, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Suriname. Suriname’s macroeconomic performance has strengthened markedly over the past decade. Since 2000, stronger policies and buoyant commodity prices, supported by political stability, have helped improve macroeconomic performance, enabling Suriname to enjoy several recent upgrades from major ratings agencies. At this juncture, however, with gold prices declining after a long upswing, the main challenges are to strengthen institutions and adjust policies to avoid the onset of a boom-bust cycle. Continue reading “IMF urges Surinam to take measures to avoid boom-bust cycle”

Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet

By Scott Stewart and Tristan Reed

stratforDuring the question-and-answer portion of our quarterly Mexico Security Monitor webinar, we were asked a question pertaining to the current status of Los Zetas. The question was something to the effect of: “Some Mexican media outlets and analysts claim that Los Zetas have been dismantled as an organization and are now little more than a ‘ragtag operation.’ Why do you disagree with that assessment?” Continue reading “Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet”

A tycoon bites the Dutch dust

nrc-carlos-slim-coverLebanese-Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim appears to have lost a major battle in his bid to control Dutch telecoms firm KPN, as he has cancelled his América Movil company’s announced bid for a majority of the telecom firms shares.

It its statement of October 16th, América Movil blamed KPN’s obstructive and non-cooperative stand. As we noted before, a tycoon’s way of doing business is never a good match for continental European companies and Slim’s attempt may have been doomed from the start.