Bloomberg Línea — Argentina’s national oil company YPF has increased fuel prices by an average of 9% after more than seven months of price freezes, and announced it will invest $3.7 billion this year to boost oil and gas production in the country.
In Mexico, Banco Santander has emerged as one of the lenders exploring a potential bid for the retail banking operations of Citigroup Inc. in Mexico, following the U.S. bank’s decision, announced late last year, to sell the business currently operating as Citibanamex.
On the stock markets, Mexico’s market was the only one in Latin America to close with gains on Wednesday, with an advance of 0.49%. Non-basic consumer products, staples and industrials sectors were the best performers during the session. Shares of the Mexican Stock Exchange (BOLSAA), Femsa (FEMSAUBD) and Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro (OMAB) were among the best performers.
Argentina’s stock exchange (MERVAL) closed with the region’s sharpest losses, down 1.92%, its sharpest losses since January 24 and following six consecutive days of gains, while Brazil’s Ibovespa (IBOV) also closed with losses in expectation of the central bank’s decision on interest rates.
Following is a roundup of Wednesday’s news from Bloomberg Línea and Bloomberg reporters across Latin America.
- Argentina’s national oil company YPF surprisingly increased fuel prices by an average of 9% on Wednesday after more than seven months of price freezes. The company says it will invest $3.7 billion this year to boost oil and gas production in the country.
- Argentine soccer team and current national champions Club Atlético River Plate has announced an alliance with Chiliz, a company specializing in blockchain solutions for the sports industry, to launch its official Fan Token, through the Socios.com app.
- 180° Seguros, a startup that offers insurance and assistance for companies in Brazil, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $31.4 million in a Series A round led by 8VC.
- São Paulo governor João Doria’s pre-campaign for the presidency faces two stress tests this week: the collapse of an expressway above subway works on one of the main roads in the city of São Paulo, and the onslaught of President Jair Bolsonaro and Infrastructure Minister Tarcísio Freitas due to the impact of the heavy rains in the state that have caused deaths and flooding.
- Santander bank is betting on the issuance of American Express to hook high-income customers and boost its profits in 2022.
- Chile’s government will need to increase revenues to cope with growing “social pressures”, according to one of the country’s top economic policymakers. “In the future we believe we are going to need more tax revenues,” Finance Minister Rodrigo Cerda, who will soon leave office, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. President-elect Gabriel Boric will be sworn-in on March 11.
- The general manager of Medellín public utility EPM Jorge Andrés Carrillo announced Wednesday that the first unit of the Hidroituango hydroelectric project will start operating on July 26, almost four years behind schedule.
- Colombian startup Melonn, which provides software and logistics services to small and medium-sized e-commerce companies in Latin America, raised $20 million in a Series A investment round.
- The trade agreement between Ecuador and the European Union celebrates five years with a positive balance for the South American country. Trade between the country and the bloc of nations recovered in 2021, with a growth in exchange of 16% compared to the previous year, representing $5.61 billion (4.96 billion euros) between January and November 2021. Ecuadorian exports to the bloc increased by 10%, while European exports to Ecuador grew by 28%.
- Banco Santander is among the lenders exploring potential bids for the retail banking operations of Citigroup Inc. in Mexico, Santander’s executive president Ana Botín said in an interview with Bloomberg.
- BP, Glencore and Ford have not had their permits renewed to import fuel into Mexico after the Energy Ministry did not renew 11 fuel import permits to energy giants and one automotive company.
- President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied that Mexico is going through a recession, after data was published showing that the country’s economy contracted during two consecutive quarters in 2021.
- The Panamanian government will invest more than $776 million in tourism infrastructure projects in six of the country’s provinces where the fastest growing tourist centers are located, according to the updated Tourism Master Plan to 2025.
- Peru’s bonds and currency rose after Oscar Graham, an economist who spent most of his career at the central bank, took over as minister of economy and finance, calming investor jitters over recent political turmoil.
- The majority pro-government National Assembly has approved a reform of the Large Commercial Transactions Tax Law, which could result in the charging of up to 20% tax on persons who make a payment in dollars or crypto currencies.