Brazil Leads Latin American Ecommerce Growth, Becoming Amazon’s Biggest Foreign Market

July 25, 2014

Robert Schoon – Latin Post, 7/24/2014

Latin America, led particularly by Brazil, is continuing rapid growth in its online economy, according to a new study by Internet Retailer. And the boom in ecommerce is good news not only for Latin American Internet retailers, but also for some prominent U.S.-based companies as well — especially Amazon.com.

According to the new 2014 edition of the “Latin America 500,” an annual report by ecommerce research and analysis firm Internet Retailer, Latin America, as a whole, remains the world’s second fastest-growing ecommerce market — only trailing behind China. And Brazil is leading the way, thanks to high Internet penetration rates, a booming market for affordable mobile devices, and an increasingly digital culture.

Internet Retailer ranked the top 500 web merchants in Latin America by sales and 128 other data points — like sales growth rates, web traffic, average checkouts, social media prominence, etc. — tracking retailers in 12 of the most digitally active Latin American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

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World Cup Economics: Why Brazil’s Bashers Have Got It Wrong

June 25, 2014

Nathaniel Parish Flannery – Forbes, 6/23/2014

In Brazil, the World Cup has sparked protests from activists interested in drawing attention to their country’s persistent problems of poverty and inequality. In 2013 protesters held up English language signs emblazoned with messages such as “WE DON’T NEED THE WORLD CUP” and “WE NEED MONEY FOR HOSPITALS AND EDUCATION.” However, as political scientists Diego von Vacano and Thiago Silva explained in their excellent article for The Washington Post, “the protests are paradoxical, because Brazil has enjoyed very significant social and economic improvements since the country bid for the event in 2003.”

More broadly, the 2014 World Cup highlights Latin America’s economic emergence over the last decade. The sea of yellow jerseys that can be seen at Colombia’s games and the packed sections of cheering Mexicans wearing green and cheering to support their team are a testament to Latin America’s recent economic success and growing middle class. According to soccer historian David Goldblatt, “Television pictures can be deceptive, and wearing a Colombian shirt is no guarantee of citizenship, but the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte was awash with yellows — perhaps 20,000 in a crowd of 57,000. The Chilean media has been reporting that up to 10,000 are making the trip to Brazil, and it looked as if they were all present in Cuiaba as the national team swept past Australia.”

In 2011, for the first time in history, Latin America’s middle class outnumbered the region’s poor. Brazil in particular, stands out for its success in investing in social programs and reducing poverty.

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Brazil confident Paraguay will be returning to Mercosur before the end of the year

October 21, 2013

MercoPress, 10/21/2013

“We know the return is going to take place and we hope it occurs before the end of the year, so that Paraguay can participate in the summit of Caracas in December” said President Dilma Rousseff’s advisor.

Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur since 29 July 2012 until last 15 August when current president Horacio Cartes took office. Paraguay with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are founding members of the bloc which incorporated Venezuela in 2012, virtually the same day it applied the ‘democratic clause’ suspending one of its members.

Paraguay was sanctioned following the removal of then president Fernando Lugo, which Mercosur defined as a ‘rupture of democratic order’ but was overcome with the presidential elections of last April and the inauguration of Cartes.

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Latam Airlines to continue reducing Brazil capacity in 2013

March 20, 2013

Graciela Ibanez and Paulo Winterstein – Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires, 03/20/2013

Chilean holding company Latam Airlines Group SA (LFL, LAN.SN) this year will continue reducing the passenger capacity of its Brazilian domestic operations, Chief Financial Officer Alejandro De la Fuente said Wednesday.

Brazil’s poor economic performance took a toll on passenger demand as gross domestic product last year expanded at its slowest pace since 2009, coupled with rising fuel costs and taxes.

For 2013, economists reduced their growth expectations recently amid continued inflationary pressures.

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Brazil Papal Contender: Place of Birth Irrelevant

February 14, 2013

Bradley Brooks – ABC News, 02/14/2013

The archbishop of one of the world’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese and a man thought to be a leading Latin American contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that neither geographic origin nor age should matter much in determining the next pontiff.

Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63, shrugged off questions about whether this might be the moment for a Latin American pope, and whether he might be the man to take the role.

“It would be very pretentious for a cardinal to say, ‘I am prepared,'” Scherer said. “No one is going to say ‘I am a candidate.'”

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Brazil sweetens road concession terms to lure investment

February 5, 2013

Roberta Vilas Boas – Reuters, 02/05/2013

SAO PAULO, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Brazil extended concession periods and improved financing conditions to lure private investors into multi-billion dollar road projects, in the latest bid to bolster anemic investment in Latin America’s largest economy.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Tuesday the government has sweetened conditions of road concessions to raise the rate of return for investors to more than 10 percent in real terms.

“The government is seeking to boost the profitability of these projects to make them very attractive to investors,” Mantega told a crowd of business leaders in Sao Paulo. “We are talking about a large volume of investment that will help our economy become more dynamic.”

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On multilateralism, sovereignty and the western hemisphere: concepts in jeopardy

December 13, 2012

Luigi Einaudi, 11/08/2012

The Organization of American States Charter declares that “the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty.”  In reality, of course, the Americas have never been united except in the western mythology of the New World.  Its countries have shifting relationships, sometimes drifting apart, other times coalescing sub regionally. It is nearly sixty years since the historian Arthur Whitaker declared that the Western Hemisphere Ideal, theproposition that the peoples of this Hemisphere stand in a special relationship to one another which sets them apart from the rest of the world” was in irreversible decline.So a question arises:  Do hemispheric relations still have a unique place in this globalizing world?

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Placing a bet on Brazil

September 28, 2011

Karla Zabludovsky – New York Times, 09/27/2011

As the United States and Europe face a bleak financial reality, Latin America hums along with continued growth and optimistic predictions for the next few years.

The latest rosy report came Tuesday from J.P. Morgan, which released a survey of 40 institutional investors in North America and Europe, finding them upbeat about investment opportunities in Latin America over the next three years and applauding improvements in investor relations.

A majority of these investors, who together hold approximately $57.3 billion of actively managed equity in Latin American companies, view Brazil as the country with the highest investor-relations standards. Mexico, along with Peru, ranked last, partly because of the disparity in investor relations standards between blue-chip companies (which make it easy to find and obtain information for investors and shareholders) and smaller companies (which tend not to be as open with their information).

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Latin America’s economies: Waging a currency war

January 14, 2011

The Economist, 01/13/2011

Having quickly shaken off the world recession, many countries in Latin America are prospering again. The region’s economies grew by an average of 6% last year, according to a preliminary estimate from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. This strong performance, linked in large part to the global commodity boom, has attracted big inflows of foreign cash. With that has come a familiar problem: the region’s currencies have soared in value against the dollar (see chart), making life uncomfortable for Latin American manufacturers. They find themselves priced out of export markets or struggling to compete with cheap imports. Worried governments are launching a battery of measures to try to restrain the value of their currencies. Will they work?

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Latin America shines in business survey

January 4, 2011

Stanley Pignal – The Financial Times, 01/03/2011

Business leaders in Japan and southern Europe are the most worried about the coming year, a survey shows, with Latin America the most promising place to do business in 2011.

The International Business Report, an annual survey of 11,000 owners of private medium and large businesses in 39 countries compiled by Grant Thornton, the accounting group, crowns Chile as the country where businesses are most optimistic, with a 95 per cent of respondents forecasting growth.

Globally, the figure stands at 23 per cent, down 1 per cent on 2010 but well above the -16 per cent recorded at the height of the 2009 financial crisis. Business leaders in India, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Germany are among the most bullish, delivering scores of 75 or above.

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