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  • 7/31/2019 AMWeekly 614


    ArgenMedia - Weekly Business Review

    NO 614 - February 22 to 27, 2012 - Page 1 of 20 -

    ArgenMedia Buenos Aires, February 29, 2012Number 614

    Weekly Business ReviewFebruary 22 to 27A summary of Argentina and Mercosur business news

    from the Argentine and Regional press


    Three important economic data: a) Last January,trade surplus improved, because imports suffered

    the most important drop for the last two years. b)Manufacturing industry decelerated in the last fewmonths, but in January it suffered a stoppage. c) Asfor fiscal accounts, public expenditures experiencea great increase. Primary surplus was reduced to only$ 622 M and financial surplus showed a $ 2,800 Mloss. This time, there was no use of other resourcesto make up the results.

    The tragic railroad accident at Once station fol-lowed the virtual collapse of the energy and tariffmodel followed by the Government, and let politicalanalysts - Morales Sol, Crivelli, van der Kooy - to

    strongly criticize the Government, stressing its lack ofcapacity to solve structural problems, even in its mostpropitious times [Economic Direction].

    The Federal Revenue Administration (AFIP) ex-tended controls (presentation of sworn affidavits thatshould be authorized) also to contracting foreignservices, and even Argentine service suppliers inforeign countries (which constitute exports)[Measures]. Besides,

    The Government prepared a domestic marketprotection plan, which would consist on Foreign

    MACROECONOMICS............................... ........................... 2ECONOMIC DIRECTION .............................. ..................... 3MEASURES and ANNOUNCEMENTS ............................... 4AGRICULTURE and AGRIBUSINESS............................... 7

    PRICE CONTROLS and AGREEMENTS ........................... 7FOOD and BEVERAGES ............................... ..................... 8CLEANING and.............................. ................................ ..... 8PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS ............................... ........... 8APPLIANCES and ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS ................. 8MINING ............................... ................................. ............... 9IRON and STEEL................................ ................................ 9AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ................................. ................ 9OTHER INDUSTRIES............................... .......................... 9GOVERNMENT VS. YPF................................ ..................... 9OTHER ENERGY NEWS ................................ ................... 10TRANSPORTATION and LOGISTICS ............................ 12ENVIRONMENT and SANITATION ............................. ... 14SUPERMARKETS, SHOPPING MALLS ........................... 14

    REAL ESTATE and HOTELS............................... ............. 14TELECOMMUNICATIONS............................. ................... 14INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY .............................. ......... 15INSURANCE ............................. ................................ ......... 15BANKS and FINANCING .............................. ................... 15CAPITAL MARKETS................................ .......................... 15FOREIGN TRADE ............................... .............................. 16MISCELLANEOUS............................... .............................. 17MERCOSUR .............................. ................................ ......... 18OTHER INTERNATIONAL NEWS................................ .... 19

    Tariff increases up to 35% and some 200 new non-automatic import licenses [Announcements].

    Meanwhile, Secretary Moreno speaks to businesspersons and ratifies that they should substitute imports, orexporting more if they wish to import (he also takes the opportunity to request data in order to better controlthem). Moreno also announced a possible soft financing regime so that Argentine companies would be able tobecome international [Announcements].

    As for the new imports regime, there is still no available data about how this is functioning (no news goodnews?). The Importers Chamber believes the regime is going well, as its main worry are the previous delays ofmerchandise that requires non-automatic import licenses [Announcements]. The matter of imports restrictionand/or substitution is explained in several sections of this report.

    Companies that import UK goods have been urged to replace their purchases with supplies from other coun-tries. [Announcements].

    Important businesses.

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    ArgenMedia - Weekly Business Review

    NO 614 - February 22 to 27, 2012 - Page 2 of 20 -

    The Government continues harassing YPF. Spanish head Brufau spoke about threats of dubiouslegal basis. There are (media) expectations about some strong intervention measure [YPF andEnergy].

    The Governors of the oil-producing provinces announced that they would request from oil opera-tors an increase in the oil and gas production of 15% as a minimum. [ Energy].

    ENARSA re-launched a bid tender to contract the construction of the Argentine North-Eastern GasPipeline, with a budget of some US$ 810 M. [Energy.]

    In the next three years there will prevail a scenario of scarce, imported and expensive energy, stressedAlieto Guadagni. [Energy]. International analyst Jorge Castro indicated that the U.S. shale gas boom, pro-duced by the last few years technological revolution, modifies the global energy equation

    [Transportation]. This section summarizes the railroad repercussions and panorama, after the Once RailroadStation tragedy. The government changed yesterday its strategy in the case, and decided a temporary take overof the TBAs concession. A takeover of the service is likely to follow.

    Techint Group agreed with America Latina Logistica to acquire the two railway cargo lines (San Martn andUrquiza) the Brazilian company runs in Argentina [Transportation].

    Three impacting data. In Argentina, the amount of smart-phones doubled in one year to almost 5.45 M.

    [Household appliances].- In 2011, local computer production set a 3.38 M units record. Imported computers, amounted to 1.52 M.[Information technology].- In 2011, local financial system banks obtained a record accounting profit amounting to $ 14,754 M.[Banks]

    Buenos Aires City placed last week a US$ 415 M 5-year bond in international markets (yield: 9.95%). The dealwas done just in time, because a move affecting Argentine financial assets seems to be developing - based onlocal anti-market measures (YPF, banks dividends). ["Capital markets"].

    In spite of doubts, the Greek Parliament approved the debt swap, which is already being offered. Private bondcreditors estimate a 73% to 75% real haircut. [International].

    MACROECONOMICS1) Trade exchange. Last January, in the frame of the exhaustive control being applied by the Government, im-ports (US$ 5,358 M) showed their lowest increase in more than two years: just 10% year-on-year. Exports (toUS$ 5,909 M) also grew 10%, essentially affected by the commodities price drop. The US$ 550 M trade surplusis 7% more than the same period last year. More information Sector Externo.

    Foreign Trade analysts expectations are that the tendency would prevail during the entire year. As it wouldbe difficult to sell more quantities to the world due to the smaller harvest and the European crisis the adjust-ment variable would fall on imports. (Cronista, 2/24.)

    Ieral/Mediterranean Foundation observed that Banco Central Commodities Price Index showed, last January,a 10% fall year-on-year in US dollars. With current prices, the average value of commodities exported by Argen-tina would be 7.1% lower than the one of 2011. (Cronista, 2/27.)

    2) Industrial production, which has already been showing deceleration signals as of last years end, registereda strong stoppage last January, according to the INDEC. A)Vs. 12 months ago, it grew only 2.1%. B) Vs. De-cember, it contracted -1.5% seasonally corrected (and -18.3% non-seasonally corrected). On these results, themost important fact was the automotive industry fall (-9.6% year-on-year,-29.4% vs. December). But also other sectors also experienced a strongdrop (textile -10%, tires -7.9%). The average use of installed capacitydropped down to 67.6%, the lowest in the year. The food industry onlygrew 1.1% in one year (and it dropped -20.3% vs. December).( 2/23.)In the chart we compare INDEC Industrial production data with Ferreres Consul-tants. FIEL has not published its data for January.

    For all of 2011, Ferreres Consultants had estimated a 4.8% growth, and INDEC, 6.5%.







    Ferreres 0.4% 0.6% 4.8%

    INDEC -1.5% 2.1% 6.5%
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    ArgenMedia - Weekly Business Review

    NO 614 - February 22 to 27, 2012 - Page 3 of 20 -

    3) Fiscal Accounts.Public expenditures shot up again: last January, they increased 34% annual. InJanuary, there was a primary fiscal surplus amounting to $ 622 M, 70% less than the 2,100 M a yearago. Income increased 27%. The financial results, after paying debt services, dropped from $ 88 M twelve

    months ago and showed a deficit amounting to $ 2,815 M. The meager public accounts have been happeningfor several years. 2011 closed with a financial deficit amounting to $ 30,664 M, the highest negative results inhistory.

    Surprisingly, the Government did not use this time ANSeS and Banco Central resources, which in the last fewyears helped the Treasury to make up the worsening data and show positive figures. These resources are pre-sented like property profits in the cash base form. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    4) According to INDEC, the unemployment rate receded at the end of 2011 down to 6.7%, the lowest rate forthis indicator since May 1992, confirming the data anticipated by the President at her January 25 th speech. The

    results, which involve 31 urban country-wide areas, come from an investigation carried out by the Per-manent Homes Poll. The unemployment rate would mean some 783,000 unemployed people, of which491,000 would live in the Capital + Greater BA, and 292,000 in other urban areas. The highest rates

    correspond to more densely populated industrial districts. (Pgina/12, 2/23.)According to the official beliefs, as of 1992, with Convertibility, there was an economic growth model with increasing s o-cial exclusion, unemployment and precarious labor, which only started reversing after the crisis provoked by the models

    explosion in December 2001. (Pgina/12, 2/23.)5) In an article entitled, Dont lie to me, Argentina, prestigious British weekly The Economist announced that it willstop using INDECs official inflation index, due to the fact that it does not want "to be part of this deception to the votersand a swindle for investors. The weekly reminded that "in an extraordinary power abuse, independent economistswere forced to stop publishing their own inflation estimations through fines and criminal threats. The manipulated pricesdeceived inflation-indexed bondholders by thousands of million of dollars, a ffirmed The Economist. (Nacin, 2/25.)


    1) Perspectives. According to economist Dante Sica, This year we are going to have normal growth rates,after years of extraordinary rates. We are almost with full employment in the formal economy, industry workswith high use of installed capacity, and there were not enough investments to attend to more demand. A very dy-namic sector, such as the automotive sector, will grow between 8 and 9%. We will have to wait and see what the

    harvest results turn out to be, which has a strong impact in the provincial consumption, but I believe that the GDPwould grow 4%; everything would depend of some first semester factors. What would be against growth would beinflation and the completion loss this generates. (Nacin, 2/25.)

    2) Economic Policy. Orthodox and/or heterodox adjustment. A Morgan Stanley report affirmed that the Ar-gentine Government applied the most orthodox macro adjustment of monetary and fiscal restrictions and an e f-fort to limit salary increases. Immediately after the elections, the Government had to face a strong lack of trustand dollar fleeing, generated by its heterodox measures. The combination of the more orthodox measurescalmed the markets and permitted rebuilding reserves.However, Barclays, for example, considered that adjustments are minor and it discarded that the Governmentis going towards an orthodox policy. There are no doubts that this Government is heterodox, and this can beseen through Januarys expenditures, which increased 34%. Goldman Sachs coincided with that opinion.There is too much intervention in the macro, and that creates distortion at the micro level, which are quite vis i-ble. There is a clear deviation of what would be a conventional policy. (Cron ista, 2/24.)

    3) January fiscal results caused nervousness among bankers and analysts: the Government needs somefresh funds, and banks have plenty of pesos. (iEco/Clarn, 2/26.)

    4) The Government has no answer for structural problems. Sergio Crivelli, political columnist for LaPrensa, wrote toughly against the National Government.The Once Train Station massacre was not due to abrake or human failure, but because the Kirchner railroad model collapsed. As in many other areas, there islack of investments in infrastructure and management. The Energy sector is suffering this, because dema-gogic tariffs boosted consumption and discouraged exploration or investment. Also the system applied to rai-lroads turned out to be destructive in the medium term. (Both energy as well as railroads), now the Governmentis seeking somebody to blame and are mounting a media circus, rather than trying to solve the basic problem,

    something that would surely not happen if it nationalizes YPF.
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    ArgenMedia - Weekly Business Review

    NO 614 - February 22 to 27, 2012 - Page 4 of 20 -

    Besides the lack of reaction, another image that reflects the Kirchner power is its isolation. The President doesnot make decisions about structural problems that are appearing, and the rest of the Government just waits to re-ceive orders. The only hyper-active Government member is Domestic Commerce Secretary is Guillermo More-no, who already functions practically as a Prime Minister, with competition on any Administration area. But his jobis just to fix up things temporarily. (See Prensa, 2/26.)

    Journalist Van der Kooy coincides with his colleague Crivelli in a similar concept: The Kirchners old un-solved problems return as a drama, and let us see the weak base for their model. The transportation system isone of them. (Clarn, 2/26.)

    5) Columnist Morales Sol affirmed:

    (a) Fiscal collection accumulated as of 2003, during the good years, amounted to some US$ 500,000M. An enormous amount of money that was not used to improve the countrys infrastructure, but just todo lost roads that go nowhere, only to benefit friendly Governors and Mayors. And also friendly entre-preneurs

    (b)Most of those resources accumulated for almost a decade were used to build a subsidized societyand raise a formidable power and control machinery.

    (c) (But) The good times are over. What was not done before would not be done now. Private economists as-

    sured thatthe countrys growth during this year would amount to 2% we could also have a 2% fall

    (d) The article adds: Why does the Government run so many risks rather than invest part of the plenty of re-sources they receive from the State?asked an employee to a railroad entrepreneur. Do you think that all thatmoney is just for us? the employee was told. Morales Sol also affirmed that, the entrepreneurs had a total im-punity feeling.

    (e)Another conclusion: Macri should think twice as to whether he should accept the subways transference.

    (f) The power is Moreno, like it or not. No other functionary is able to contradict or have another point of viewin the Presidents presence. (Nacin, 2/26.)


    1) Some 240 entrepreneurs belonging to the leading importing companies of the country met (Friday, February17th, Wednesday 22nd, and Thursday 23rd) with the Domestic Commerce Secretary, Moreno. He told them that:(a) The (national) objective is to substitute imports. Those companies that show effort and progress, as well as

    balancing with exports, are going to be considered by the Government and would have trade flexibility. M o-reno indicated that they should compensate 1 for 1 their imports, with any kind of exports, with the exce p-tion of commodities.

    (b) He defined the trade surplus target, which should be at least US$ 10,000 M for the year.(c) Moreno emphasized the importance of trade policy, since we are not going to go out and get indebted.(d) Moreno took the opportunity to demand that each company give him all their products prices in 2010, 2011

    and 2012, plus annual variation. Those increases will be published by the Secretariat, because it is publicinformation. The Secretary established that the annual guidelines for price increases will be 7% for massiveconsumption products, 14% for medium-range, and 18% for premium segment ones.

    (e) He reaffirmed that he would mainly focus in the analysis of consumption goods imports,so as not to affect the import of supplies, parts and pieces, which could be an obstacle forproductive process.

    (f) In view of the entrepreneurs threat to diminish employment levels, the Secretary emph a-sized that he does not want layoffs and any situation that could modify the labor forceshould be informed previously.

    (g) A news that appeared in these meetings: the Government will offer financial instruments tohelp Argentine companies to become transnational. See following item No. 7) (Pgi-na/12 and Nacin, 2/24.)

    Clarin commented: During the three meetings, the Secretary over-acted (he made the execu-tives stand up when he came in), mistreated them and spoke against his new enemies: banker Jorge Brito, Se-bastin Eskenazi, Cristiano Rattazzi, part of the Argentine Industrial Union, and the Liaison Committee.

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    ArgenMedia - Weekly Business Review

    NO 614 - February 22 to 27, 2012 - Page 5 of 20 -

    2) The AFIP (incorporated foreign-contracted services to the Advanced Imports Sworn Affidavit, which al-ready involved all goods imports. (General Resolution No. 3276). It will start being applied as of April 1st, includ-ing previous contracts with pending payments. Among the services involved are: patents and brand names,royalties, author rights and those of films, videos and audio, corporate, professional and technical services, per-sonal, cultural, and recreational services, sports players loans, payments of commercial guarantees for exports,technology transference, non-financial, non-produced assets purchase, and other foreign payments. The opera-

    tions included are those that surpass US$ 100,000 or installments higher than US$ 10,000.But the regulation also applies to Argentine services in foreign countries, which will represent an exports con-trol (and its profits). (mbito and Nacin/WSJ, 2/23.)

    3) Another news is that the the Domestic and Foreign Secretariats are designing a new national plan for ex-ports promotion. The priority would be exporting manufactured products with strong added value to LatinAmerica. It is being coordinated by RaI Zylberstein, with Fonoplata financing. (BAE, 2/22.)

    4) The Importers Chamber (CIRA) communicated: Although we still do not have final figures about imports de-lay, we think that this is going to need at least three months to normalize, after the last measures applied by theGovernment to control the imports of finished merchandise, equipment and supplies. According to the Chamber,main inconveniences would not be the application of the Imports Sworn Affidavits (DJAI), or the authorization

    from Moreno which takes 15 days but only the great amount of merchandise stopped due to non-automatic li-censes. That is the reason why CIRA requested that all delayed authorized be approved in one sole procedure,and for the system to start operating now with its new double format: the DJAI and Moreno. ( - 2/24.)

    5) Domestic Market Protection Plan.The Government will present it before Mercosur technicians, in orderto coordinate the matter of foreign tariffs. Each country will present a 100 tariff positions list, where it wants toapply 35% tariffs. The Argentine Governments plan guidelines consist on: (a) Increase the common foreigntariff up to 35%, which would mainly apply to European goods (auto parts, capital goods, textiles and food prod-ucts), and (b) Create more than 200 new non-automatic import licenses, focusing on Asian products, mailyfrom China, and covering an ample range of products. (BAE, 2/23.)

    6)Dont buy British

    .Industry Ministry Giorgi confirmed that business leaders were contacted in order to per-suade them from buying British supplies. These companies were selected by the Argentine government since in

    the last year their purchase volume from the UK increased significantly. So they now havebeen urged to replace their purchases with supplies from other countries. (mbito, Croni-sta, BA Herald, 2/29)

    - According to Mercopress (2/28,) such procedure was in line with the methodology long usedby government members to lobby, and is come cases threaten, verbally the industry and busi-ness communities regarding prices and lately imports.

    7) The Government is studying facilities so that Argentine companies would be able to become international.The Government is thinking of dollar funding at low rates. Secretary Moreno anticipated, the companies would beable to take advantage of the European companies value loss. (BAE, 2/23), or buy themselves a Greek Isl-and. (Clarn, 2/26.)

    The initiative was shown as a compensation to companies that substitute imports or export more, but it does notsound viable during the current financial adjustment. (ArgenMedia). Argentina has only some twenty multinationalcompanies, with foreign assets amounting to about US$ 21,000 M. Of these, 85% belong to the Techint Group (Te-naris and Ternium).

    Restrictions to currency transferences.

    8) The new Kirchner model with import forex obstacles, changes in the rules of the game and pressures on for-eign companies to postpone or cancel profit sending, and use those funds in new investments set off an alert formultinational companies. This new risk factor works against any news investments, and increases the prefe-rence for investing in other countries. (Perfil, 2/26.)

    Subsidies elimination.
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    NO 614 - February 22 to 27, 2012 - Page 6 of 20 -

    9) The announcement of tariff increases for metropolitan buses and trains would again be postponed. It wasconsidered not advisable after the train crush tragedy. (Clarn, 2/26.)


    10) Reserves. During this year, BCRA acquired in the forex market some US$ 2,070 M. But reserves only in-creased some US$ 600 M for payment of financial services and they are now at US$ 46,869 M. The BCRA also

    informed that the monetary base fell to $ 204,100 M. Therefore, the so-called free availability reserves contin-ue being exhausted, but the difference between the monetary base and the reserves has been reduced to US$317 M. (Prensa, 2/26.)

    11) Labor. The Labor Ministry postponed until December 31stthe Productive Recovery Program (Repro), whichpermits to partially subsidize salaries of "private sectors and geographic areas under crisis. (Nacin, 2/25.)

    12) The Financial Information Unit (UFI) fixed a maximum 48 hours term to denounce suspicious opera-tions of money laundering or terrorism financing. (Resolution No. 28 / Official Bulletin, 2/22). (mbito, 2/23.)

    13) Banco Central appointed economist Matas Kulfas (39) as its new general manager, replacing BenignoVlez, who left last Friday in the midst of a strong controversy about ex Ciccone printing company and vice Pres-ident Boudou. Kulfas had been Banco Nacion director since 2008 and previously Small and Medium Enterprises

    (Pymes) under Secretary.

    14) On Thursday, March 1st, the President will inaugurate the Congressional ordinary sessions. (Perfil, 2/26).Last weeks Presidential public agenda was minimal. After 15 silence days, Cristina reappeared in public in Ro-sario, last Monday, Februay 27th, at a celebration honoring the countrys flag.

    Foreing Relations

    15) U.S. Ambassador to Argentina, Vilma Martinez, would have transmitted, for the first time, to the Govern-ment Washingtons disapproval, due to Secretary Morenos mistreatment of multinationals executives. It wasduring a meeting with Ministers Hernn Lorenzino and Dbora Giorgi.(Clarn, 2/24). See Foreign Trade.

    16) G-20.Lorenzino (Economy Minister) and Marc del Pont (BCRA head) traveled to Mexico to participate of aG-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank presidents meetings, in preparation of Junes Presidents summit. Be-

    sides the matters on the agenda, they would also boost a new mechanism for sovereign debt resolution. (Clarn,2/26.)

    17) Malvinas.(I) A joint session of the two Legislation Chambers Foreign Relations commissions took place inUshuaia, with official participation as well as most opposition blocs. In an unusual political gesture, the legislatorssigned a joint document supporting the Government in its policy to defend the legitimate sovereignty of the Ar-gentine Republic, which does not prescribe, over the Malvinas, Southern Georgias, and Souther Sandwich, aswell as surrounding maritime spaces. The document rejects "The United Kingdome colonial and military attitudeand reaffirms Argentinas vocation for dialogue and peace. Congress will deal with this matter, when the ord i-nary sessions start. (All media, 2/26.)

    (II) Cristina invited all UNASUR Presidents to the April 2nd event, which will take place in Ushuaia. (Clarn, 26.)

    (III) Tierra del Fuego Province has banned two cruise ships (from P&O cruises) from calling at Ushuaia in after

    they visited the Malvinas Islands, applying provincial legislation.II) Former Foreign Relations vice Minister Andrs Cisneros warned that the admittance of the Malvinas inhab i-tants right to auto-determination - as was recently proposed by a group of intellectuals - would be a mistake anda political catastrophe, if we do not also demand that they admit our rights.Cisneros believes that the Malvinas problem would only be solved by othergenerations, the day that Great Britain has to discuss the matter as civilizedcountries do. (Clarn, 2/27.)

    Old and new generations in the Kirchner Administration. Secretaries Came-ron and Kicillofin center, with black shirt,- and under Secretary Roberto Baratta,standing at YPFs door( See YPF.
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    1) Grain Markets.Soy international price rose to US$ 482 a ton yesterday, May contract, reaching a 5-monthhigh. It was its 7th consecutive journey upwards. Global soy crop would not be able to cover demand, accordingto Oil World consultants.

    Corn price rose to US$ 257.3 a ton and wheat to US$ 243.3. (mbito and Nacin, 2/29.).

    Last Friday, in Rosario, factories paid $ 1,360 per soy ton, for immediate delivery. In Chicago, the week closed on the up-trend, at US$ 470 and 472.8 per ton for March and May. Corn closed at US$ 252.25 and 2535 per ton. (Nacin, 2/25). OnTuesday 27th, soy touched US$ 475 / ton, its highest price in five months, due to bad previsions informed by the USDA. (Cro-nista, 2/28.)

    2) Rosario Stock Market (BCR) cut down its latest soy harvest estimations down to 445 M ton and corns, to 20M, both below its projections a month ago. Buenos Aires Grains Market estimated 46.2 M soy and 21.3 M forcorn. (Cronista, 2/27.)

    3)Despite the abundant recent rains, the losses left by drought, amounting to about 12 M ton, would have re-percussions on the agribusiness chain. The droughts effects would affect investments and producers futureproductivity, foreign currency income, provincial fiscal accounts, liquidity and dynamism of numerous regionaleconomies, transporters and storage holders, the mill and oleaginous industries, and port terminals, which would

    have more idle capacity. (Nacin/Agriculture, 2/25.)

    3) Expoagro 2012. The open-sky rural show will take place in two weeks, from March 6 th to 9th. This year, it willbe held at Junn, BA province. More information: .(ArgenMedia.)

    4) Imports Control. Agrochemical Companies will have to present their figures for purchases and sales tothe international market to obtain the import permits that are regulated by the Domestic Commerce Secretary,Guillermo Moreno. Last Friday, at least two of the sectors Companies, Syngenta and Basf, part icipated of some140 companies meeting convoked by Moreno, in order to indoctrinate them about the Governments economicmodel. To advance on this matter, it is necessary that the sectors Chamber has to inform about its 2001 tradebalance. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    5) Farmers.In several provincial assemblies, agriculture producers declared in a state of alert and a llowed the

    agriculture Liaison Commission to promote a protests schedule, including a national strike threat, in view of thelack of Government answers. (Cronista, 2/27.)

    6) International. Last January, China imported soy for some 4.6 M tons, 10% below its imports on January 2011.That countrys Argentine soy purchases were almost half the 861,600 ton during the previous month. (RosarioRural Association Newsletter, 2/22.)

    7) The U.S. agriculture industry will have subsidy cuts. The budget project presented by President Obamaproposed to end direct payments for farmers. It would also cut down harvest insurances. This year, the farmerssubsidies US$ 11,000 M. But since Washingtons priority is to reduce the deficit, the subsidies are under rev i-sion. Only 1% of U.S. citizens work in agriculture, therefore the sector has less electoral weight than in past de c-ades. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    8) Global agricultural prices will drop this year, due to the fact that world-wide producers will increase theirharvests to stabilize commodities markets and calm down the fear of a food products inflation, a ccording to theU.S. Government (USDA). After two years of much adjusted stocks, world offer, led by wheat, is recovering."Doubtlessly, the high prices that we say last year, boosted an answer of the global production as far as mostcommodities were concerned, according to Joe Glauber, chief economist of the USDA. (Nacin/Campo, 2/25.)

    9) The International Cereals Council raised its wheat global harvest projection by 5 M ton, up to a record of 695M and its prevision for global corn harvest by 3 M ton, up to 864 M. (Nacin, 2/25.)


    El Cronista newspaper gave new information about Secretary Morenos price guidelines, with some differenc-es with the ones informed in the last few weeks. For the first semester, massive products adjustment would bearound 3% and 3.5%, selective or intermediate scale products around 5% and premium ones would not surpass
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    7% adjustment. For less important products for daily consumption, such as infusions, home appliances, andhome cleaning products, the semester adjustments start from 4% and would reach 9%. (Cronista, 2/27.)


    The U.S. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (MJN), specialized in children nutrition, acquired from SanCor the

    children milk brand SanCor Beb (an operation subject to approval of the Dairy Cooperative Assembly).SanCors turnoverwith this milk line amounts is at US$ 70 M annual, but the sale price was not informed. Be-sides, both Companies will form Nutricin para el Conosur SA (Nutrition for the Southern Cone), a joint-venture(80% MNJ-20% SanCor) to expand the business. (Nacin,, 2/25.)

    CLEANING and PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTSAlgabo, manufacturer of personal hygiene products, took a $ 10 credit from the Bicentennial fund, in order to ac-quire new machinery. (Nacin, 2/23.)

    International. Procter & Gamble plans to eliminate more than 4,000 jobs and rationalize its enormous marketingbudget. The Company wants to save US$ 10,000 M until 2016 in order to reduce its high cost structure. (Na-cin/WSJ, 2/24.)


    See also Information Technology.

    1) Secretary Moreno indicated to the entrepreneurs that the Government will be watching over imports fromTierra del Fuegoelectronic companies. The Government wants that some printed circuits, plastic parts or ac-cessories be substituted by locally-manufactured parts. These companies are also part of Morenos 1 for 1 sy s-tem. (Pgina/12, 2/23.)

    2) In Argentina, the number of smart-phones doubled in one year, from 2.6 to almost 5.45 M, according to Car-rier Consultants, following the global tendency. According to Cisco projections, by the end of 2012, the entireplanet would have more intelligent telephones than people.

    However, the main uses for these phones do not go any further than the conventional

    ones: consulting e-mails (62%) and Facebook (54%); 31% users prefers just to navi-gate, 30% checks messages and 15% uses them for twitting.

    These data show that communication and socialization, perceived as an entertain-ment, are the main boosters for changing equipments. It is fundamental for the phone to

    have Internet, according to Carrier.

    The world leaders are Samsung and Apple, while LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and RIM/Blackberry showeddisappointing results. Chinese ZTE and Huawei placed 5th and 6th. As for operational systems, the leader isBlackBerry with 73% of the corporate market (1/4 of the total market). It is followed by Symbian with the 17%,Android and iPhone with 12% each. (Clarn, 2/22.)

    3) 3. One of each three cell phones sold in the world is a smart phone. According to Gartner Consultants, in2011 there were 472 M, over a total of 1,800 M mobile telephones. In Argentina, a total of 13 M cell phones were

    sold, of which 26% were considered smart-phones. (iEco /Clarn, 2/26.)4) People that live in Mendoza province travel to Chile to purchase technology articles and home appliances,which they get at half price than here. From TV LCD or LED to refrigerators and washing machines, but also bi-cycles, school clothes and tires. (Clarn, 2/23). Argentines purchase home appliances in Uruguay, where theyfind those that no longer can be bought in the Argentine market and they are far less expensive. (ArgenMedia.)

    5) The WSJ published an article about Argentine electronic products protectionism.Most parts are imported from Asia. Most of the Argentine-made contents are packing material, use manuals,and screws.Some US$ 400 M to 500 M was invested.The program has been criticized, because it uses public funds for a little competitive sector, which also forcesconsumers to pay higher prices for less advanced products.

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    Fiscal advantages for Tierra del Fuego manufacturers will cost the Treasury some US$ 1,300 M. The subsi-dies would be agriculture income transference. (Nacin/WSJ, 2/27.)


    Calypso UraniumCorp. announced the second discovery of uranium mineral at Cerro Solo, San Jorge basin,

    Chubut. (Mining Press, 2/23.)International. Copper prices are relatively stable (see following chart). Last week, itimproved 0.85% and closed last Friday at the London Metal Market at 382.87. With theagreement to bailout Greece, the financial markets and metal prices obtained stability.( 2/24.)

    Evolution of the cash copper price 11/28 to 2/24 (blue line).

    IRON and STEEL

    1. Siderar informed profits amounting to $ 1,341 M for that period closing last December, 25% lower than theprevious period ($ 1,787.5 M). The sales increased as far as pesos are concerned, but expenditures also in-creased and mainly financing costs. (Nacin, 2/23.)

    2. Ternium's net income in 2011 was US$ 650 M, a decrease vs. the US$ 780 M of the previous fiscal year. Datainformed in Luxemburg indicated dispatches for 8.8 M ton (+9.5%) with a turnover amounting to US$ 9,167 M(+24%). In Argentina, sales amounted to US$ 2,200 M (+14%). (WSJ and Nacin /WSJ, 2/23.)


    1) FIAT officially presented at the Mercosur the Qubo, a utility passenger vehicle, manufactured in Turkey,which would compete with the Renault Kangoo, the Peuqeot Partner and the Citron Berlingo. (Nacin, 2/25.)

    2) International. Brazil (3.42 M units) consolidated as the 4th largest world automobile market in 2011, afterChina, the U.S. and Japan, according to Jato Dynamics Consultants. As for brands, Volkswagen led global saleslast year, with 5.11 M units. It was followed by Toyota, with 5.06 M, Ford (4.72 M), General Motors (4.08 M add-ing up all its brands). (El Diario/Santiago, 2/20.)

    3) PSA Peugeot Citron and General Motors would be negotiating a strategic alliance for vehiclemanufacturing. (Valor, 23.2).


    Roque Vassalli Fabril will invest $ 18.6 M that it obtained from a Bicentennial Fund loan to increase 60% itsharvest machine production capacity at the Firmat plant, located in Santa Fe. (Nacin, 2/22.)


    YPF Harassment Every day a blow

    1) YPF is a multinational Company, which has enough dollars to get fuels. It has thedollars outside the country; let it bring them in and continue to supply normally. If itdoes not do so, it will be sanctioned, according to Minister De Vido at a meeting withservice stations representatives. They have the dollars, but they do not want to bringthem back, he said, with reference to the profits for US$ 1,200 M YPF sent to itsheadquarters last year.

    Brufau and partner Eskenazi, other times

    2) In a communication, Minister De Vido assured that the National Government isgoing to guarantee fuels supplies for the domestic market, if YPF does not comply with its obligation toprovide it.

    He assured that, when there is a lack of gasoil or gasoline, it would be provided by State Enarsa Compa-

    ny. Service station owners estimated that between 10% and 15% are lacking. And he added:
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    They want to force us to have local prices follow international ones, but no way are we going to ac-cept that extortion. National production, which should be working at full as required by the concession con-tracts, and as we have been discussing with the provinces, it would always have an Argentine cost. (Clarn,2/22 and 23.)

    3) Energy SecretaryCameron indicated that, Repsol YPF has to explain why production fell in its refineries. In

    2011, the utilization factor amounted to 89%, and in February it dropped down to 74%. (Prensa, 2/24.)

    4) In another step of the official escalade against YPF, last Thursday the State board of directors member (u n-der-Secretary Roberto Baratta), Energy Secretary Cameron, and Economic Policy Secretary, Axel Kicillof, ac-companied by Planning lawyers chief and a notary public went to the YPFs headquarters. They tried to go inand participate of the Companys board of directors meeting. The Company did not let them go in, indicatingthat the meetings are only for the directors, including the States one (Baratta). This caused a theatrical responseby the functionaries, writing a legal document, and wondering what obscure matter the board of directors wasgoing to deal with? (Clarn and Cronista, 2/24.)

    5) As written down in the board of directors assembly minutes, Antonio Brufau believes that, YPF is subject tosome unjust criticism, as well as sanctions or restrictions threats with dubious legal foundation onthe part of Government functionaries. The Company sent the minutes to the BA Stock Market as an enclosure

    to a Relevant Fact, where YPF notified the Market the alternatives of the mee ting. (Clarn, 2/25.)

    6) Media suspense:

    (A) In corporate sources, it was estimated that the Government is gathering antecedents in order to take somemeasure about YPF, which could go from intervention to nationalization. (mbito, 2/27.)

    (B) YPF is convinced that the Presidential message next Thursday could be the frame for Cristina Kirchner toannounce some kind of intervention on the Oil Company. (Clarn, 2/27.)

    (C) There are expectations that Cristina would change oil and trains policies. (Cronista, 2/27.)

    (D) Some sort of State intervention in YPF is being prepared. Repsols lawyers are alert, analyzing alternatives.(Cronista, 2/28.)

    (E) The government prepares an imminent landing in YPF (mbito, 2/29, front page.)

    (F) Emergency trip? Repsol chairman Brufau has arrived to Argentina again [for the third time in a month] to at-tend a round of meetings amidst the present tensions between the company and the Government. (BA Herald,2/29).

    Several points of the following section also are actually actions directed against YPF.


    1) In the next three years there will prevail a scenario of scarce, imported and expensiveenergy, indicated Alieto Guadagni. Prices will maintain their upward tendency. The Governmentsenergy policy does not promote exploration or investment. Towards 2012, we would be paying fromUS$ 8,000 to 10,000 M for gas imports. The hope is that the new non-conventional gas resources(shale or tight gas, with production costs much higher than those of conventional gas) can be con-firmed as reservesand be valuable towards mid-decade. (Prensa, 2/26.)

    The Governors

    2) Three Governors and Representatives of the 10 oil-producing provinces that are part of the OFHEPI an-nounced guidelines that they would request from oil operators and signed a document. Concretely,

    - National and provincial authorities establish as a target an increase in the oil and gas production of 15% asa minimum (average low for the entire country) in a first stage, associated with the demand for investments in-


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    - In the case of oil, the objective is to reach o il self-supplying, for refining (that is to say, substituting fuel im-ports). As for gas, the objective is to sustain the domestic demand increase, substituting imports as well.

    - This will be required from each operator and according to concession fields.

    (See Minutes for the Agreement Ofhepi-Nacin 2/24 at the Planning Ministry site - ArgenMedia.)

    3) According to the official site, during the press conference, Chubut Governor Buzzi affirmed that,a) They will demand to increase the current level of oil and gas production, a minimum of 15% average, duringthe next two years. They also warned about the possibility of cancelling the exploitation concession of thecompanies that do not comply with the objectives.

    b) "Today we finished establishing the measuring to see the fields that comply with the guidelines. There arecompanies that are complying, others have a stable production, and still others in total retraction. Each prov-ince fixes a series of guidelines to measure what company per area or per field comply, and the ones that do notdo it. Buzzi affirmed that in his province "there are companies that are above the expected investment level,such as Capsa, Pan American, Tecpetrol, and other that do not, such as YPF. If the situation persists, we willstart with the reversion mechanisms of the non-complying areas."

    c) "Two weeks passed since we asked each operator its perforation and production plans, and we have seen nomodifications, as in the case of YPF. ( 2/24.)

    Comments. The statements are political and very feeble from the technical and legal points of view. No oil compa-ny is able to commit a production volume, and much less an increase, which depends of the fields condition. Thecompanies are able to commit investments in exploration and development, but they are subject to the income thatthey would reasonably obtain /ArgenMedia.]

    According to Jorge Lapea, president of the General Mosconi Energy Institute, unless this requirement is theproduct of detailed studies, province by province, that justify a production increase, this is more of a political andmedia action, because production fall is not momentary, but structural. Another specialist indicated that, "Youcannot order and increase production just because you want to. It is technical foolishness. (Nacin, 2/25.)

    4) Neuqun Governor Jorge Sapag, [the more conciliatory, according to Clarn] said that today we presented a5-year plan for gas and oil production, called Neuqun ms Energa, (More energy for Neuquen), where westress the development of non-traditional fields. Sapag affirmed that his province is working along with the Na-

    tional Government, in order to obtain more investments to obtain more production. But he avoided answering ifhe would cancel the concessions of those that do not comply with the production targets. (

    Saltaprovinces GovernorUrtubey, also cautious, added that he is evaluating not renewing some conce s-sions.

    5) According to Clarn, the Governors accepted the general guidelines of Minister De Vido, but included severalchanges. The obligation to disinvest that the provinces had announced 15 days ago passed to a 2nd place.(Clarn, 2/25, page 28.)

    Other oil and gas news

    6) ENARSA re-launched an important bid tender (LP GNEA No. 001/2012), to contract engineering services,

    equipment and materials supply, and construction for the Argentine North-Eastern Gas Pipeline, with a budgetof some US$ 810 M, without including VAT. The bid tender had been launched a year ago. (Official Bulletin, 2/23.)

    7) Following De Vidos instructions, ENARSA suspended payment for rental of two gasifying ships thatprocess LNG in Baha Blanca and Escobar. At the request of the Government, YPF rents them from Excelerate,for some US$ 80,000 daily each, and charges an average of US$ 110,000, which includes operation and main-tenance.Excelerate already complained for the lack of payment, and if this is not solved in a few weeks, the Companywould terminate the contracts and take away the ships. The Planning Ministry transmitted to the Company thattheir intention is to take YPFaway from the businessand that it would be ENARSA the organization to rent them.(Clarn, 2/22.)

    See in our previous report the suspension of LNG, gas and fuel bid tenders and payments.
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    tionaries and official organizations responsible from controlling the concession-holder. (Urgente24, 2/23).Thus, official newspaper blamed TBA since the tragedy.

    But Pro-Kirchner Pgina/12 newspaper (2/26, pages 2 and 3) and BAE newspaper (2/24) coincided in their opi-nion that the State should not only remove the contract-holding company, but also to regain railroads control.

    Reality shows that Sarmiento Railroad has an obvious technological delay, plus an extensive list of non-complied

    promises and works. Currently, the Sarmiento continues functioning at its limit, with railroads back to the 50 de c-ade, trains that have more than 50 years, and signaling and security systems almost obsolete. (Clarn, 2/23.)

    [Second reaction.]The Government will present a legal complaint.The Planning Minister in-dicated that the President ordered the State to accompany the victims that present a legalcomplaint. Thus, the Government conditioned the definition about TBA Companys situation towhat is decided by the Courts and will not apply immediate sanctions. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    Comments. The decision is not logical, as the State itself is the one that should control the servicethat TBA concession-holder offers, and the latter could be responsible for the accident. Never beforethis Government had depended on a legal process its decisions about concession holders. The decision was criticized bythe opposition, and the UCR warned that the Governments presentation as plaintiff was contrary to legal order, besidesbeing deceptive and absurd.(Cronista, 2/24.)

    Despite the magnitude of the catastrophe, the Government House answer was just trying to avoid any responsibility

    about the accident and use the media to find a guilty party. Surprisingly, the Government tried to look like another victimof an avoidable disaster and turned into a legal plaintiff against TBA concession-holder. (Prensa, 2/26.)

    Since several years ago, railroad concession-holders, which receive State subsidies, justify that those funds areonly enough to cover personnel salaries and some maintenance. Any other improvement should be done by theState. (Ambito, 2/23.)A good El Cronista article (2/24, WE supplement), explains the Argentine railroad decadence.

    The Cirigliano Group, Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA) main shareholder,started with two lines of urban buses and grew due to privatization, deregu-lation, and subsidies, with favors received and pardoned non-compliances,according to Pgina/12.The key to the Companys success was to follow successively MenemsAdministration, then the Alianza (which prolonged its concession for another

    10 years) and, during the last 8 years, the subsidies policy, which was notreciprocated by investments demanded by the National Government.

    (Pgina/12, 2/23.)

    The President assured Monday that she would make any decisionsnecessary once the matter is resolved in court. Forty million Argen-

    tines need to know what happened and who was responsible.

    [Third reaction]. De Vido and Transport Secretary Schiavi announced the government would take over theSarmiento and Mitre train lines belonging to TBA (Trenes de Buenos Aires) during a (temporary) 15-day-period or until there is some advance in the probe . A definitive takeover of the service is likely to follow.(mbito, 2/29.)

    Other transportation news

    1) After several months of negotiations, Techint Group has reached a preliminary agreement to acquire controlof the two cargo trains that ALL-America Latina Logistica operates in Argentina. The Brazilian company will retirefrom the country. They are the San Martn line (connecting the provinces of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe withCuyo) and the former Urquiza line (linking Buenos Aires and the Mesopotamian provinces). Techint would addthese lines to Ferroexpreso Pampeano. (Clarn, 2/27.)

    2) Maruba Group comments that its subsidiary CARE, which operates tugs,"has overcome difficult times andis operating normally and reliable in terminals Rosario, Las Palmas, Zrate, Buenos Aires and Santa Fe" (Clarn,27.2, Transportation.) Maruba is the national shipping line which whose control was taken by varioustransportation unions (ArgenMedia).
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    3) Regional. Mexican Port Authority for Port Lzaro Crdenas will launch a tender in March for the constructionand operation of a vehicles terminal, for 500,000 vehicles, with an investment of US$ 50 M. (BNAmericas, 2/22.)


    Federal Quilmes Judge Luis Armella, who has a Supreme Court mandate, ordered the Acumar authority and the

    Matanza-Riachuelo Rivers Basin Mayors to deepen their control over industries. Of the 810 industries cons i-dered as contaminating, only 100 would be reconverted by the end of March. Only half of the industries elabo-rated, until now, its industrial reconversion plan. (Nacin, 2/26.)

    International. Bunge will acquire British Climate Change Capital (CCC) investment consultants, specialized in carbonbonds. Bunge did this at a low price, as CCC, which used to be a high-profile investor in carbon emissions compensa-tion, was damaged by the sinking carbon price to a minimum under 4 Euros (US$ 5.31) per ton. (Cronista, 2/23.)


    Surprisingly (for the market), the president and CEO of Walmart Argentina, Ezequiel Gmez Berard, quit his post, dueto personal reasons. Headquarters appointed as his replacement Horacio Barbeito, who currently was in charge ofWalmart Argentina commercial director. (Cronista, 2/24.)- Cronista reminds that Walmart plans for this year US$ 130 M investments in our country, to open some 25 establish-ments in its 4 formats. Walmart currently controls 88 stores, as well as a modern distribution center in Moreno (BAprovince) and employs 12,000 workers. It has just launched its e-commerce site. (Cronista, 2/24.)

    Carrefour informed that it sold its pharmacy business in Argentina (5 stores in BA City) to local Vantage chain. Thechain reiterated that the pharmacies were not part of its core business, and that the strong regulations applied topharmaceutical activity create difficulties for its expansion plan. (Cronista, 2/24.)


    Real Estate developer Moiss Altman, with 60 years in the market, maintained that the business perspectivesare complicated, because the sale prices reached a cap and do not reach the constructioncost increases and lower rentals due to units exceeding offer. Currently, real margins are nil ornegative.

    Anyway, construction would be maintained due to building fiduciary funds at cost prices, withminimum units and lowest possible cost, to attract small and medium investors. As there are noother reasonable investment alternatives, in pesos or dollars, savings are used for purchasingproperties with the illusion of maintaining acquisitive power. Apartments to be constructed atcost price replaced financial investments. (Cronista, 2/23, Real Estate.)


    The possibility to change mobile phone service and keep the number will be available as of March 5 th (in 55towns in the countrys interior) and 15 th in Buenos Aires City, Greater Buenos Aires area and the rest of the coun-try. It is estimated that about 1.5 M people will change companies. This has led to an advertising war. The fourcompanies that dominate the Argentine market (53 M cell phones) are ready to launch their marketing plans to

    keep their clients and attract new ones. (Clarn, 2/26.)See articles on cell phones and smartphones underElectronics:


    ARSAT - Satellite Solutions is tendering the supply of 500,000 STB/Set Top Boxes, with customers servicefor 2 years. Specifications: $ 50,000; opening: 3/12 (to be confirmed). 498 Avenida del Libertador, Buenos AiresCity, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For further information: call 011 5811 2600, or[email protected]. (Pgina/12 and Official Bulletin, 2/22.)

    Regional. See Ecuador.[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]://
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    In 2011, local computerproduction set a 3.38 M units record, according to the sectors Chamber (Camoc a). It isa 175%% increase vs. 2010. 66.7% were portable phones, and the rest fixed. Of the total, 745,000 were assem-bled in Tierra del Fuego. Imported computers, which always surpassed the nationally manufactured, amounted to1.52 M (vs. 1.56 M the previous year). (BAE, 2/21.)

    The National Social Security Administration is tendering the supply of net-books for the next stage of the pro-gram Connecting Equality. The first stage of the 4 -stage program will be for 400,000 laptops. The proposalwith the largest amount of national components will have a priority. (Prensa, 2/25.)


    The number of lawsuits faced by insurance companies amounts now to 163,992, and the liabilities for pendingdamages is $ 13,300 M, according to the National Insurance Superintendence. 26,840 cases were closed in thequarter, but another 30,963 were opened. The car insurance category concentrates 67% of the cases, almost110,000. (Nacin, 2/22.)


    1) In 2011, local financial system banks obtained a record accounting profit amounting to $ 14,754 M, 25.5%more than in 2010. Profits reached 2.7% of assets. All banks groups showed profits: foreign capital 3.4% of theirassets level and national banks 2.6%. State banks profits amounted to 2.3%. (Nosis, 2/24). The BCRA informedthat in 2011, the system closed its 7 th consecutive year with positive results. The net assets of all the banks in-creased 21.8%, primarily due to accounting profits, despite the fact that part of these earnings was distributed asdividends. Last year, there were sector capitalizations that reached almost $ 1,000 M. (Cronista, 2/24.)

    2) A bill introduced in 2011 to set up a system for interest rate insurance, might be evaluated this year in Con-gress. The bill puts forward the creation of an Interest Rate Warranty Fund, made up from a monthly install-ment to be paid by banks. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    3. Regional. IDB granted Banco Ita BBA S.A. a US$ 100 M loan to fund green projects in Brazil, Chile, Co-

    lombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. ( 2/17 and AmericaEconomia, 2/22.).4. International. Refinancing Operation. After lending euro-region banks a record 489 billion euros (US$ 658billion) in its first longer-term refinancing operation, on December 21, the ECB will probably grant them another470 billion euros this week. Using the operations, banks can borrow from the ECB at around 1 percent and in-vest the proceeds in higher-yielding securities such as the 10-year Italian government bond, yielding 5.35%.(Bloomberg, 2/28.)


    1) YPFequity fell 7.5% in BA SE and Wall Street yesterday, after a 5.6% drop last Monday. (Nacin, 2/29). ElCronista (2/29) and other media points out that the local tittles are having a bad performance (both debt a nd eq-uity drop when other reference markets are going up), which is considered a reaction to local government hos-tile actions (against YPF, banks, free trade, etc.).2) Previously, Merval fell 1.9% even though Wall Street and Bovespa went up. Banks were hit the hardest (-5% GaliciaGroup). In spite of closing 2011 with record profits, they cannot distribute their dividends among shareholders.

    GDP-coupons fell on Friday, between 2.5 and 3% showing signs of deceleration of the local economy.

    Merval fell 1.3% during the week, in spite of having started with imported profits after the Carnival festivities. (Nacin,2/25). Yesterday, YPF shares fell 5.6% in NYC, and the fall was accompanied by Galicia, Macro (-3.80%) and BBVAFrancs (-1.31%) Banks, affected in the last few weeks by an internal hostile climate for the markets. (Cronista, 2/28.)

    3) Argentinas country risk reached 787 bp on Friday after having been at 777, two days before. Brazils coun-try riskwas 198 bp and Uruguays 204. (Riesgo


    4) Retail dollar continues at $ 4.37 and wholesale dollar at $ 4.355. (Prensa, 2/25.)
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    5) About 3 M people purchased dollars in 2011, when the flight reached US$ 21,500 M. 45% of the operationswere for sums under US$ 10,000. (iEco/Clarn, 2/26.)

    6) International. The euro rose 0.5% yesterday, to US$ 1.3464 in NY and to 108.32 yen. The dollar weakened0.2% to 80.48 yen. The euro strengthened on speculation a European Central Bank allotment of three-year loansto banks tomorrow will bolster investor appetite for the regions assets. The longer-term refinancing operation forbanks is likely to loosen liquidity issues even more and the euro is consolidating ahead of whats likely to be abreakout above $1.35 (Bloomberg, 2/28.)


    7) Buenos Aires City placed the Tango Bonds, last Wednesday, for US$ 415 M, 5-year terms, at 9.95%. De-mand amounted to US$ 1,000 M. 59% of the bonds were placed in the United States, 24% in Europe and 12% inLatin America. Argentine investors only bought US$ 25 M. The bonds were placed by Citi, Barclays Capital, BTGPactual, Puente and Macro, and their joint commission was 0.15%. The bond totally amortizes the due payment,and pays interests every six months, under English legislation. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    8) Banco Hipotecario is offering corporate bonds of Tarshop class IV and V until February 29th, for up to $ 100M. (Nacin, 2/23.)

    9) Arcor would sell 5-year dollar-denominated bonds for up to US$ 100 M. (Nacin, 2/25.).

    10) Lebac and Nobac. On Friday 17th (the tender was brought forward because of the holidays) BCRA received offers for $3,800 M and accepted $ 2,652 M. Since bills were due for $ 1,637 M, the BCRA absorbed pesos from the market again anaccumulated about $ 10,500 M since the beginning of the year. No Nobacs were awarded (variable rate). (Nosis, 2/20.)


    The policy whereby only exporting companies can import, forces companies to find exportable products, regardless of whatsector they belong to. One of the effects is the boom of middlemen businesses. Even Stock Market authorities are boostinga kind of exportable credits market, to be traded at the local Market. Thus, exporters can go to a bank and request creditbonds, to be operated in the Stock Market to be bought by those who want to import. (Nacin, 2/25.)


    1) U.S. Ambassador Vilma Martinez met with the Ministers of Economy, Agriculture and Industry and listened

    to their concerns regarding access to U.S. markets, especially for citrus and fresh meats producers. (Pgina/12,2/24). Other media indicated that the United States fears a sales drop in the country.

    The meeting had been scheduled weeks ago, just between the Ambassador and Minister of Agriculture Yauhar,but it later on turned into a meeting with the whole economic cabinet and Ambassador Argello. The U.S. functio-naries were willing to listen and there were no warnings. However, they expressed that restrictions on imports andthe Forex are not helping direct foreign investments in the country, and this leads to more trouble in the balance oftrade. (Nacin, 2/25.)

    2) Uruguays Industries Chamber is demanding a stronger intervention from the Government in the matter oftrade controls imposed by Argentina which led to a 60% fall of Uruguayan exports since February. (Clarn, 2/26).President Mujica indicated that even though he dislikes this action he could apply similar measures for Ar-gentine goods. Bilateral trade relations are very complicated, the President admitted. (Cronista, 2/27.)

    3) Brazils President Rousseff announced that the brand new Petrobras president, Mara das Graas Foster,will travel to Buenos Aires. Foster was instructed to treat "Argentine companies as national, so they can becomesuppliers to the Company." (CIRA and Foreign Office.)

    4) The Government is also trying to make national capital companies buy other companies abroad, this beingone of the main goals of the trade mission toAngola, to be made next week by the Secretary of Domestic Tradeand representatives from the private sector. Moreno hopes to get the support of 400 entreprene urs. (Pgina/12,2/24). They will be in Luanda from March 4th to 8th, with the support of the Argentine Foreign Relations Ministry.

    The current president of Angola, Jos Dos Santos, has ruled with an iron fist since 1979. Because of the countrys cap i-talist state, companies are 50% owned by the State and they answer to Sonangola, a Company whose partners aremembers of the presidential family. Angola tops the ranking of global corruption. Its capital, Luanda, has a population of6 M and it has collapsed... (Clarn, 2/26.)

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    5) After Angola, the next mission will be to Kazakhstan, in Asia Minor, by June. Moreno said: if we manage tosell US$ 1,500 M to each one of them, it will be fine. He forecast that the second semester will be terrible for Eu-rope, and this will impact the local economy. (Clarn, 2/26.)


    1) Corporate organizations. (I) The Banks Association, the BA Stock Market and the Argentine Corporate As-sociation AEA insist that the Government is not making proper use of the economic surplus to make a quantumleap in the countrys production structure. The Industrial Union affirmed that the restrictions on imports havepushed the sector into a plateau and Morenos policies will be nothing but a new curtail on private investments.(Clarn, 2/24.)

    (II) Secretary Moreno confirmed that he works with entrepreneur Guillermo Gmez Galicias and the head of CGE Mar-celo Fernndez, in order to create an ultra-pro-Kirchner CGE (General Entrepreneurs Confederation) and thus dividethe existing corporate organizations.

    2) Iguaz Falls have officially been named as one of the Seven Worlds Natural Wonders, after a surveywhere 1,000 M people voted over a 4-year period. (Clarn, 2/23). More information at: .

    3) 3. Governor Sciolichose popular policies to strengthen his image and future as a politician. Like never be-

    fore, provincial and municipal Governments have turned into promoters and agents for free entertainment andsport events, using public funds. See La Capitals multimedia section (Aldrey Iglesias) on free concerts andthe summer summary. (ArgenMedia.)

    4) After a three-year study, Tribal, the digital marketing agency owned by international DDB, has arrived in thecountry.( Paul Gunning, global CEO at Tribal DDB, explains: Latin America is growing fas t-er than other regions, especially Argentina. We are not here because it is cheap, but because local talent hasthe kind of skills that allow us to be competitive. He said: Our expectation is that everything will become digi-tal (Cronista, 2/23.)

    5) According to Magnaglobals latest report, turnover from advertising in Argentina increased 37.9% in 2011,that is, the largest increase out of the 63 surveyed countries. Advertising on the Internet increased 86.5%, from $528 M in 2010 to $ 984 M in 2011. (Cronista, 2/23.)

    6) Metrogas.At the Companys request, Justice postponed from 2/28 to 6/18 the shareholders and debt holdersassembly, which has to consider the Companys proposal for payment of its defaulted debt. (Cron ista, 2/22.)

    Scandals.7) By the end of 2010, Courts found thousand of e-mails in Ricardo Jaimes assistants computerwhich leaked fishy State businesses. All that investigation is now one step closer to becoming a coldcase: a Federal Judge affirmed that the e-mails are not valid criminal evidence and annulled themas such. (Nacin, 2/23.)

    8) The National Governments silence about the scandal that involves vice President Boudou(Ciccone case) is inadmissible, according to La Nacin in a Su nday 26th editorial.

    Agenda9) Amidst complaints from the National Government against YPF, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy decided to sendthe Secretary of State for Latin America, Jess Manuel Gracia Aldaz, who has lived in Argentina and is familiarwith the local political arena. Gracia Aldaz visit coincided with a new trip by the Repsols head Brufau. (Clarn,2/22.)
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    1. The Hispanic-Latin AmericanConferences program, created in 1991, and reinforced with a General Secre-

    tariat for Iberic-(Latin)American Matters (since 2003, led by former IDB director Enrique Iglesias) is currently atrisk. ( After the failed summit in Asuncin, the program is under scrutiny because Latin Americancountries have made other alliances to deal with their affairs. (mbito, 2/23 and ArgenMedia.)

    2. The consortium created by Tractebel Engineering and Energy Consulting Services was awarded the feasi-bility study for the gas integration project for Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, backed by the CAF. It will be donein six months at a cost of US$ 300,000. ( 17.2).


    1) The inflow of capitals in Brazil keeps on growing and is affecting the currency exchange. Although the coun-trys Central Bank intervened once and again, the real appreciated 0.41%, to R$ 1.7070 per dollar (to R$ 1.6990as of yesterday.) Local exporters are surely suffering as the Brazilian real increased 9.7% vs. the dollar so farthis year and it is the highest increase among the 16 currencies around the world with the most operations. (Cro-nista, 2/23, 27, and 29.) Finance Minister Mantega assured that the Government has a great arsenal of tools toprevent excess appreciation of the Brazilian currency. Developed countries have weakened their currencies inorder to reactivate their economies. (Nacin/WSJ, 2/24.)

    2) Central Banks head reiterated that the Selic rate (currently at 10.5%) would drop down to one digit. (Cronis-ta, 2/27.)

    3) Mining. Apart from the Potassium Site in Ro Colorado, Argentina, Vale approved a leasing contract for 30years of mining assets and rights for the potassium in Sergipe (the only producer in Brazil), and the constructionof the largest potassium plant in the country. The Company is thus continuing its strategy in the fertilizers sectorwhere it would invest US$ 15,000 Muntil 2020. (

    Vale reportedly produced 322 M ton iron ore in 2011, 4.8% more than in 2010.

    4) Energy. Brazil informed about its investment plans for US$ 60,000 M until 2015, in order to increase sugarcane production and consolidate ethanol as the leading fuel for light vehicles. (Nacin/WSJ, 2/27.)

    5) Spain's Repsol and China's Sinopec have made an oil discovery in offshore Brazil that could be one of thebiggest so far in the area (preliminary estimations: 250 boe) and that boosted confidence that across in Africa,Angola's deepwater reserves may be abundant too. (Mercopress, 2/27.)

    6) Bunge announced it would expand its investments in Brazil to more than US$ 3,000 M (from the previousUS$ 2,500 M plan) until 2016. Most of the investment (US$ 2,500 M) will be used for processing sugar, etha-nol, and energy from biomass. It is also evaluating investing US$ 580 M in palm tree oil. In December, theCompany agreed to buying Indian Amrit Banaspatis cooking oil division forUS$ 42 M and announced the setup of a cooking oil plant in the western coast of India. (Valor and Cronista - 2/24.)

    7) Logistics.Cosan, Brazils largest ethanol company, will buy 5.66% of ALL for US$ 523 M. Cosan and ALL

    operate railways in Brazil and Argentina. Cosan is thus strengthening its transportation, storage and shippingbusiness. (Valor and Nacin/WSJ, 2/23.)

    8) Industry. GM announced a US$ 418 M investment to build a transmissions factory in Joinville, Santa Catari-na, fit to produce 150,000 transmissions per year. (Nacin/WSJ, 2/24). The plant will be next to GMs engine fac-tory (under construction). (Cronista, 2/24.)

    9) Capital Markets.Bradesco, Brazils third largest bank, issued US$ 1,000 M in 10-yr bonds (WSJ, 2/24.)


    1) Chile is no longer one of the top 10 most attractive territories for mining, according to the annual rankingmade by the Fraser Institute. For example: obtaining environmental permits in the 15 th region (Arica) is a horrorstory. Latin America is becoming less attractive. It fell from 34.3 to 29.6 points in the ranking. According to the
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    Institute: Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, and Bolivia push the average down. Colombia also fell sharply lastyear. (El Diario/Santiago, 2/25.)

    2) Real estate. The main stage of the construction of Costanera Center tower, Cenco-sud Group, has already reached 300 meters height and is now the tallest building inSouth America. It is part of a 700,000 sq. m complex, with luxury offices, a mall with over300 stores, a Jumbo and an Easy supermarket, large Department stores, 12 multiplexscreens, 5 parking lot levels, etc. (El Diario/Santiago, 2/13). More information at .

    Costanera Center, Santiago de ChileUruguay

    Uruguayan agricultural exports in 2011 surpassed US$ 6,000 M. Beef exports reachedUS$ 1.13 M, 16% of the total. ( 2/23.)


    YPFB estimates they will drill 10 exploration wells until 2015.(AmericaEconomia, 2/24.)


    Peruvian Cerro Verde Mining Company announced that the US$ 4,000 M project to triple production will turn the

    Company into one of the worlds top 5 copper companies. (N acin/WSJ, 2/24.)Ecuador

    1) President Rafael Correa pardoned three newspaper publishers and a former columnist who had been sen-tenced to jail and ordered to pay $40 M for damages damages in a libel case that angered media freedom advo-cates. (Reuters, 2/28.)

    Previously, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission asked the Government of Ecuador to suspend the sen-tence against directors of El Universo newspaper. President Rafael Correa first showed contempt for the request but later onaccepted the possibility of rethinking the sentences. (AmericaEconomia, 2/24.)

    2) Ecuador estimates this years private investments in the oil sector will reach US$ 694 M, 58% more than in2011. In April, the Government will tender blocs with reserves of over 120 M crude barrels. (Nacin/WSJ, 2/24.)

    Venezuela1) In Cuba, Doctors successfully extracted a tumor from President Hugo Chavez's pelvic region and he wasstable and recovering in Cuba on Tuesday with family at his side, his vice president announced today without fur-ther details..

    2) Construction of the Santa Ins industrial complex continues in Barinas state, owned by truck factory Vene-minsk and tractor factory Mazven, in a trade alliance with Byelorussia. (AmericaEconomia, 2/22).

    3) Chvez plans to turn Venezuela into an agricultural power have failed. As for citrus, rice, corn, coffee, co-coa and double-purpose cattle farming (milk and beef), production has fallen and those sectors that used to beself-sufficient in the country are now forced to import to meet national demand (white corn, rice and coffee). (Uni-versal/Caracas, 2/22.)


    1) The government formally launched the auction of 109 oil blocks for 2012, in another attempt by the Govern-ment to attract foreign investment in the hydrocarbons industry. (Nacin/WSJ, 2/22.)

    2) Colombia reserved 313 zones, over 2.9 M hectares, as strategic mining areas to be awarded through ten-ders. (America Economia, 2/24.)


    1) Heritage Foundation Index and WSJ measures economic freedom of 184 countries based on trade, busi-ness, and investment freedom, as well as property rights, rating countries according to 10 indicators. The rankingis topped by Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. New Zealand and Switzerland, all countries within thefree economy group. Canada and Chile come in 6th and 7th respectively.Argentina is 158thout of 184 countries with a repressed economy, together with Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Libya

    and North Korea, which is in the last place. (Terra, 2/21.) More information at:
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    Terra reports: Free economy in Argentina has weakened due to the Governments major intrusion in freemarkets." Public expenses in all levels of Government are now over one third of total national production."The Executive has a strong influence over the Judicial and Legislative branches, which are vulnerable to cor-ruption and political agendas, as well as being inefficient and slow."

    2) Economic data in the United States continues showing improvement, and helping President Barack Obamaduring a key moment to be reelected in November. (Cronista, 2/24.)

    THE EURO CRISIS3) Greece officially approved and launched the 350,000 M debt bond swap last Friday. Private holders (some 206,000 M) will get a 53.5% discount of the nominal value in the swap (some 107,000 M). With the newbonds they will receive, they will increase their loss to over 70%. (Nacin, 2/25). The plan applies to bonds underGreek law, 92% of those in circulation. Several sources estimate that the final discount will reach 75%, only sur-passed by Iraq in 2006 and Argentina in 2005. (iEco/Clarn, 2/26.) The new bonds will have an average 3.65%coupon, for a 30-year term, and will be guided by British legislation. (mbito, 27.2)

    4) German Chancellor Angela Merkel scraped through a parliamentary vote endorsing a second bailout forGreece on Monday. She acknowledged there was no 100% guarantee that the bailout would work, but rebuffedcalls from rebel lawmakers to let Greece default and leave the euro. "Nobody knows what would be the impact ofrejecting the second Greek aid package on the other bailout countries, Portugal and Ireland, or on Spain and It-aly, or the entire euro zone and the world," Merkel said.

    "As chancellor I have to take certain risks, but I cannot be reckless - my oath of office forbids that." She called for speeding uppayments into a 500-billion-euro permanent euro zone rescue fund so that it is fully capitalised within two years instead offive, and said her government saw no need to debate a bigger overall safety cushion now."With the voluntary debt restructuring for Greece we are entering new territory. If it is a success, then the contagion risk forother countries will be further reduced. Now we need to wait and see what happens," she said. Greece formally launched thebond swap on Friday, under which private creditors will suffer real losses of around 74 percent on their Greek debt holdings.If enough creditors agree to take new, lower value bonds in return for existing debt, Greece will have the power to force anycreditors who do not sign up voluntarily to the deal to accept its terms under "collective action clauses".

    5) However, the media assured that the Greek bailout plan is a trap that would cause a deep and prolongedeconomic depression in that country, and only miraculously would avoid default. In the best scenario, Greecewould need a third bailout, towards 2014-2015. (Clarn, 2/27.)

    6) S&P lowered its sovereign credit ratings on Greece to 'SD' (selective default) following the Greek govern-ment's retroactive insertion of collective action clauses," following a similar decision from Fitch agency.

    7) Japan is evaluating contributing US$ 50,000 M to the IMF to help the fight against the debt crisis in the Eurozone. (El Comercio/Lima, 2/23.)

    Sources:mbito Financiero,Buenos Aires Herald,Clarn,Cronista,Infobae,La Nacin,La Prensa,Pgina/12,andAmrica Economanewspapers andEl Economistaweekly, other local and Mercosur media El PasandElObservador/Montevideo, Uruguay;Folha,Jornal do Brasil, and/orRadiobras/ Brazil;El Diario,EstrategiaandEl Mercurio/ Santiago, Chile; Paraguayan and Bolivian media (mainlyABC/ Asuncin andLos Tiempos/ Co-

    chabamba), financial and business newsletters and Web sites and own sources.ArgenMedia - Weekly Business Reviewis edited by ArgenMedios SRL.Publisher Horacio Jannelli. English EditorHelena Imperiale. Registered trademark. Circulation and partial or total reproduction is authorized onlywithin the subscribed companies.

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