LatAm Daily News Roundup: May 20th

Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update

Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update


Some 700,000 Argentina children could fall into poverty by the end of this year, according to a report by UNICEF. The percentage of children living in poverty in the country is currently 53%, according to the country’s statistics agency Indec, but which could increase to 58.6% by year’s end, which would mean a total of 7.7 million children in the country would be living below the poverty line. The marginalization of more children into poverty would be a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, UNICEF said, as unemployment increases amid company closures and an economic downturn.

Brazil recorded 1,179 deaths from Covid-19 on May 19th, the highest daily death toll from the virus so far. The country’s death toll from the virus currently stands at 17,971, with more than 271,000 confirmed cases. By surpassing the 1,000 daily deaths mark, Covid-19 has now become the most common cause of death in the country, surpassing heart attacks and strokes, which kill an average 980 Brazilians a day, according to the Ministry of Health.

The lockdowns and stoppages implemented in Chile to counter the spread of Covid-19 have affected 60% of mining projects under development in the country. Out of 48 mining projects in development, 29 have been deferred, according to investment observatory Corporación de Bienes de Capital (CBC). Foreign direct investment in Chile’s mining sector fell by 41% in first quarter, and an additional 41% drop is anticipated during the rest of this year. Chile’s mining industry association (Asimet) forecasts a contraction of 5% in the metallurgical sector for this year, and an 8% drop in Chile’s GPD.

Colombia has further extended its quarantine measures, until May 31st, while the so-called sanitary emergency will continue until August, when schools will tentatively reopen. President Iván Duque said on Tuesday that extending the quarantine will allow the country to prepare “fundamental measures” to begin easing restrictions from June 1st. In the meantime, public transport will continue to operate at 35% capacity, citizens over the age of 70 should continue to stay home, but who will be granted more opportunities to go out after June 1st, when children aged 1-5 will also be given more spaces for outdoor activities. Colombia’s borders will remain closed and domestic and international flights will remain grounded until at least June 30th, however.

Mexico City’s government has published the new outlines for businesses and schools as part of its strategy to gradually reopen the capital city’s economy following the lockdown. From June 1st, mining, construction, vehicle assembly and beer production will be allowed at factories and installations within the city limits, and parks will reopen to the public, although they will only allow the entry of citizens to 30% of their crowd capacity. Schools will continue with online classes however, until August. A ‘traffic light’ system will be updated daily, and which will reflect hospital bed occupation in the city, and according to which activities will be authorized to operate, depending on the number of infections recorded.

Peru’s crude oil production has halved over the last three months, dropping to 30,300 barrels per day in May, compared to 61,000 in April, largely due to a slump in production in the country’s Amazon region, according to Perupetro. The country’s hydrocarbons agency SPH expects the decline in production to continue during the rest of the year and is currently in talks with the government to reactivate the sector by mitigating its financial woes. Oil revenues have fallen by around 80% as a result of the collapse in oil prices. A financial package to aid oil producers would likely include the deferral of royalty payments for 90 days, a new royalty policy and a postponement of contractual obligations.

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