LatAm Daily News Roundup: May 29th

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.

Buenos Aires could face another six to ten weeks under lockdown, according to Felipe Miguel, the cabinet chief in city mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s government. Miguel said in an interview with Radio La Red that the quarantine period “could be prolonged for six and ten weeks from now,” which would mean until the end of July or beginning of August. Extending the city’s quarantine period would make it among the longest in any country, behind Colombia, which has so far extended its quarantine to 92 days, and which is second only to Wuhan, the Chinese city in which the Covid-19 virus originated. The death toll from the virus in Argentina is currently 508, with more than 14,500 confirmed cases.

Brazil has set yet another record in the number of new Covid-19 cases confirmed in one day, which rose by 26,417 overnight Thursday. The figure brings the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 438,238, while 1,156 deaths were reported overnight, bringing the total death toll to 26,754, making it the six worst-affected country by number of fatalities. The health ministry has acknowledged that the number of cases is still showing an upward trend as cases are reported in more cities and towns. Sources within the Brazilian government speculated earlier this week that the travel ban imposed on Brazilian citizens by the US is unlikely to be lifted in the short term.

Chile’s government has extended its quarantine measures for a further week to counteract the spread of Covid-19 in the capital Santiago and the metropolitan area, as well as three other communes or municipalities. The move comes as the country saw a new record in overnight fatalities since the start of the pandemic, with 54 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 944, while 3,695 new infections were registered, bringing the total number of confirmed cases across the country to 90,638. The rise in cases comes despite renewed lockdown measures in the capital. Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said on Thursday the government has the power to impose the isolation measures, including arresting those not complying with them.

Colombia has cut its key interest rate to a record low to combat a recession the finance ministry forecasts will be the deepest in the nation’s history. The central bank cut the rate by half a percentage point for a third straight month, to 2.75%. The decision was in line with expectations. The country’s GDP will shrink by between 3-7% this year, according to the central bank’s forecast. Inflation will slow to between 1% and 2% by the end of the year, below its 3% target, central bank Governor Juan Jose Echavarria said. Of the major South American economies, Colombia has seen a lesser impact from Covid-19, with a death toll of 812, but with more than 25,000 confirmed cases.

Mexico’s peso saw its best month in terms of value in 25 years in May, with a 7.8% appreciation against the US dollar, rising from a parity of 24.27 pesos to the dollar to 22.56. The appreciation is the strongest since April 1995, when the peso recovered 14.3% against the US dollar. The peso has seen its value drop this year as a result of the economic downturn provoked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the global slump in oil prices, and the downgrade of the country and its state-owned oil company Pemex by rating agencies. Analysts have also attributed the peso’s weakness to mistrust on the part of investors in the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, following the cancelation of projects such as the planned $14 billion new international airport for Mexico City.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF has praised the policies implemented by Peru to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The policies are “the correct ones, aiming to prevent consequences that could last over time," IMF chief of mission for Peru Leo Bonato said on Friday. “We hope that Peru will lay the foundations for a robust recovery in 2021," he said. The IMF’s Western Hemisphere director Alejandro Werner highlighted the confidence that Peru inspires among multilateral organizations such as the IMF, highlighting the country’s efforts to face the pandemic, in addition to the reliability in the financial, fiscal and monetary management, and the way how society has faced economic shocks.


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