Bloomberg Línea — Argentine President Alberto Fernández met Thursday with his Bolivian counterpart, Luis Arce, at Casa Rosada, and both leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the extraction and development of lithium resources.
The city of Próspera in Honduras has adopted Bitcoin (XBT) as legal tender, following in the footsteps of El Salvador, to become the second location where the cryptocurrency is legal tender in Central America. The cryptocurrency will be accepted in Próspera, on the island of Roatán, one of the country’s two Employment and Economic Development Zones (ZEDE). Joel Bomgar, president of Honduras Prospera Inc., said: “Bitcoin within Próspera operates as legal tender, that means there are no capital gains taxes on Bitcoin, you can freely trade and use Bitcoin and you can pay taxes and commissions within the jurisdiction on Bitcoin”.
On the region’s stock markets, Argentina’s Merval (MERVAL) had the best performance in the region and stood out with a rise of 0.64%, after yesterday’s second largest fall. Shares of Loma Negra (LOMA), Bolsa y Mercados Argentinos (BYMA) and Cablevision Holding (CVH) were among the highest gainers. Mexico’s stock market suffered the sharpest drop in Latin America on Thursday, with S&P BMV/IPC (MEXBOL) down 0.29% at the end of the day.
Following is a roundup of Thursday’s news from Bloomberg Línea and Bloomberg reporters across Latin America.
- Argentine President Alberto Fernández met Thursday with his Bolivian counterpart, Luis Arce, at Casa Rosada, and both leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the extraction and development of lithium resources.
- Despite a 14.5% rise by Brazil’s Ibovespa (IBOV) index in first quarter, equity funds posted their worst performance in five years.
- President Jair Bolsonaro has been improving his performance in the polls ahead of October’s elections, but the country’s economic situation affects his image. Meanwhile, rival candidate and former president President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Thursday that, while he is against abortion, which is illegal in Brazil, he defends the practice and that it should be treated as a public health problem.
- Chile’s Finance Ministry unveiled a $3.7 billion stimulus package aimed at boosting sectors that have lagged behind in the nation’s economic recovery, as Chile faces difficulties such as a slowdown in growth and rising inflation. Among the measures, President Gabriel Boric announced that the minimum wage will be increased this year.
- Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation will grant $40 million in financing to Colombian coffee growers through the National Coffee Fund, to counter a drop in production.
- Colombia is expected to be among the countries in Latin America with the sharpest growth this year, of 4.4%, thanks to the oil price spike, after GDP expanded by 10.6% in 2021.
- Inflation, which the government refers to as having been “imported” due to it resulting from the geopolitical situation, will stabilize by the end of 2023 within the target range established by the monetary authorities, according to the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development in a report on the country’s macroeconomic outlook 2022-2026.
- The World Bank expects Ecuador’s economy to grow 4.3% in 2022. That is a much more generous expectation than the one offered by the country’s Central Bank, which last week announced that GDP growth will be 2.8%. Likewise, for 2023 the World Bank expects the Ecuadorian economy to grow 3.1%, and for 2024 2.9%.
- The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (Mintrab), with the support of the International Labor Organization (ILO), presented an action plan and progress of the Temporary Work Program, which aims to provide job opportunities to Guatemalans, while promoting regular, orderly and safe migration.
- The city of Próspera in Honduras has adopted Bitcoin (XBT) as legal tender, following in the footsteps of El Salvador, to become the second place where the cryptocurrency is legal tender in Central America. The cryptocurrency will be accepted in one of the country’s two Employment and Economic Development Zones (ZEDE) in Próspera, on the island of Roatán. Joel Bomgar, president of Honduras Prospera Inc., announced the news on Thursday at Bitcoin Conference 2022 in Miami that brought together around 25,000 key players in the crypto space. “Bitcoin within Próspera operates as legal tender, that means there are no capital gains taxes on Bitcoin, you can freely trade and use Bitcoin and you can pay taxes and commissions within the jurisdiction on Bitcoin,” Bomgar said.
- President Xiomara Castro on Thursday approved the reformulation of the budget for this fiscal year, which contemplates a greater allocation of funds for health and education.
- The Bank of Mexico could require further monetary tightening to that carried out by the U.S. Federal Reserve when the national inflationary outlook demands it, but without introducing excessive tightening, a central bank member said in the minutes of the most recent meeting.
- Mexico’s annual inflation accelerated more than expected in March to its highest level in more than two decades, driven by fuel prices, putting additional pressure on the central bank to continue raising interest rates.
- Panamanians’ confidence index in the economy’s recovery over the next few months remains low, at 87%, barely an increase of two percentage points when compared to January’s measurement, according to a survey by the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, in alliance with The Marketing Group.
- Since taking office only eight months ago, President Pedro Castillo has faced one political crisis after another: Three Cabinet changes, two impeachment attempts, and a curfew imposed to stem a state of siege after violent protests broke out against rising prices. Jorge Antonio López Peña on Thursday today took over as Minister of Health, replacing Hernán Condori. And stirring further controversy, the head of the cabinet, Aníbal Torres, praised Hitler in a speech.
- Upward inflation in Uruguay between February and March was driven by increases in the price of food, particularly vegetables. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 9.38% year-on-year during the period, while the monthly variation was 1.1%, above the median of analysts’ expectations consulted by the Central Bank of Uruguay.