LatAm Daily Briefing: Colombia Avocado Exports to EU Surge; Chaves Wins Costa Rica Presidential Election

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

Publicado lundi, avril 4 2022
LatAm Daily Briefing: Colombia Avocado Exports to EU Surge; Chaves Wins Costa Rica Presidential Election

Speaking a day ahead of the 40th anniversary of the 1982 South Atlantic War, President Alberto Fernández declared Friday that he is "clear" that the Malvinas Islands "are not English" and called for Britain to reopen negotiations over the disputed archipelago.


"If there is one thing I am clear about, the only thing I am clear about, is that the Malvinas are not British, I am clear about that," the president said. The remarks, delivered in a rare interview with the BBC, came as the president recalled the moment on April 2nd, 1982, that he learnt that Argentina had invaded the islands. "It was a very shocking moment for all of us, because obviously it was a measure adopted by the [1976-1983] military dictatorship in the utmost secrecy and nobody knew how it had happened, who had taken that decision.”


Ten members of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet have resigned from their positions, along with three other top officials, in a move designed to help boost the far-right leader’s re-election prospects ahead of the general election. The officials are expected to campaign for office in advance of the vote in October, as well as campaign for Bolsonaro. According to Brazil’s electoral law, top officials must resign from their current posts before they can run for other positions. “I’m in my third straight administration, and I never saw a team of ministers so connected to the president, so loyal, so devoted,” outgoing Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio de Freitas said at an event organized for the officials on Thursday. Outgoing Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto was made a special adviser to the president and is seen as a top contender to become Bolsonaro’s running mate.


Chile’s monthly economic activity index (Imacec) grew by 6.8% year-on-year in February, the Central Bank said, a variation that was below market expectations and confirms the slowing trajectory of the country’s economy. "The Imacec result was explained by the increase in services activities. Trade also contributed positively to the month's result, while the production of goods fell, mainly affected by mining," the institute said in a statement. Analysts had expected an 8% annual variation for the second month of 2022. The seasonally adjusted series fell 0.7% with respect to the previous month and increased 6% over the past 12 months.


Colombian exports of Hass avocados to Europe grew 225% to $193m in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to trade promotion agency ProColombia. The fruit led Colombia’s export growth in the EU, being the fastest growing product in the country’s fruit and vegetable basket. Bananas are Colombia’s single most important fruit export to Europe. In 2021, they accounted for $758m in trade, an increase of 2% over the previous year. Sales of other exotic fruits also registered double digit growth, with shipments of gulupa up 20%, and exports of goldenberries and Tahiti limes climbing 18% and 36% respectively. Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia said: “Internationalization has a positive effect on what Colombia has to offer because it promotes competitiveness and the adoption of good practices. As a result of these exports, more companies are aware of the positive impact they should strive to have on communities and the environment.


Rodrigo Chaves, a former finance minister, has easily won the country’s second-round presidential elections and will become the Central American country’s new leader next month. Chaves won despite accusations of sexual harassment when he worked at the World Bank. Chaves won around 53% of the vote, compared with 47% for former president José Figueres Ferrer, the supreme electoral tribunal said. More than 42% of eligible voters did not participate, an unusually low turnout for the country, reflecting the lack of enthusiasm Costa Ricans had for the candidates. In his victory speech late on Sunday, Chaves called for unity to address problems such as unemployment and a soaring budget deficit. Figueres congratulated Chaves and wished him the best, adding that he continued to believe that Costa Rica was in a “deep crisis” and he was willing to help it recover.


The Mexican economy will slow down over the next six months, according to statistics bureau INEGI. The leading index that suggests the behavior of the economy in the short term, registered in February its seventh consecutive monthly decrease, dropping 0.10 points and standing at 100.9 units, above its long-term trend. The evolution of the leading index in February was a consequence of the drop in the S&P 500 stock index indicator, which fell 0.28 units, the fifth consecutive drop. Meanwhile, February's business confidence; the behavior of the interbank equilibrium interest rate (TIIE); as well as the behavior of the exchange rate registered a moderate advance, 0.13, 0.0 and 0.31 monthly points, respectively. The trend in manufacturing employment registered a marginal advance of 0.06 points, while the Mexican Stock Exchange's Price and Quotations Index (IPC) rose 0.01 points in real terms.