LatAm Daily Briefing: Argentina Mulls Incentives to Boost Employment; Colombia Captures Drug Kingpin

28 October: Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update.

28 October: Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update.


Argentina is considering fiscal incentives to encourage companies to hire workers after unemployment spiked to the highest in at least 16 years amid the pandemic.

Labor Minister Claudio Moroni said he is working with the Production Ministry to lower some employer contributions. The incentives will probably be aimed at hard-hit industries in Argentina’s least-favored provinces, he said. “The idea is that we’ll assist companies so that they hire young people and we help to train them,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg, declining to specify the type of benefit or sectors that would receive them. Unemployment in Argentina rose to 13% in second quarter, the highest level since 2004.

 

Brazil’s soy exports to China increased by 51.4% in September compared with the same month of 2019, totaling 7.25 million tons. Brazil is the Asian country’s largest supplier of the grain, with China’s total soy imports for the month hitting 9.8 million tons, and which was a 19% increase over the same month of 2019. In contrast, China’s soy imports from the US totaled 1.7 million tons in September, which was a 32.4% drop on the volume imported of the same month of 2019. Despite the recent import increases however, China’s soy imports are expected to decline over the coming months, according to analysts.

 

Colombia has announced the capture of a drug kingpin who was allegedly responsible for cocaine shipments from the Colombian port of Cartagena de Indias to Italy. The capture of Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, alias ‘Popeye’, was achieved after a joint operation between Colombia’s directorate of criminal investigation and the US Drug Enforcement Agency. ‘Popeye’ had also allegedly worked for notorious Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellín cartel, and who was killed by police in 1993.

 

Ecuador’s state power corporation Celec has issued an international call to structure the public selection process for the concession of the planned 596MW Cardenillo hydroelectric project. The contract entails the preparation of a feasibility report which will look at legal, technical and financial aspects, and take 180 days, according to news portal BNamericas. A 184-day second phase would follow on approval from the energy ministry and involve the promotion and accompaniment of the public selection process. Celec has budgeted $4.99 million for the contract, offers for which are due December 4th.



Mexico’s oil production averaged 1.64 million barrels a day in September, a 0.6% increase over the previous month. The country’s hydrocarbons commission (CNH) said that, of the total, state-owned oil company Pemex produced 1.59 million barrels, the equivalent of 97% of the total, with private companies producing the remainder, which totaled 57,000 barrels. Mexico’s oil production has been in continual decline since 2004, when its daily average production was 3.4 million barrels, and the current daily production rate is below the 1.72 million recorded at the beginning of this year. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has pledged to ramp up production, but has refused private sector calls to relaunch the oil and gas auctions held following the country’s 2013 energy reform.

 

Peru has launched a tender for a $16 million contract to improve and expand potable water and sewerage systems in 14 neighborhoods of Cutervo district in the Cajamarca region. The contract involves building two main water supply systems, and two water intakes, as well as installing 3.8km of supply lines, among other works. The improvements are expected to benefit nearly 2,500 households. Bids will be opened on November 5th, with the contract expected to be awarded the following day.

 

 

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