REGULATOR ORDERS BARRICK TO CLOSE CHILEAN SIDE OF PASCUA-LAMA MINE
The Chilean government has ordered Barrick Gold Corp to permanently close its surface facilities at the Pascua-Lama mine. The troubled project, which straddles the border with Argentina, has faced a number of setbacks including concerns of environmental damage and water contamination, labour unrest and spiralling costs. Barrick says the decision, passed down by environmental regulators, suits its new approach to the site, where it intends to concentrate on underground mining. The ruling does not apply to the Argentine side.
PRIMARY DEFICIT FOR 2017: 3.9% GDP
Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne announced on Wednesday that the 2017 primary deficit of just over 400 billion pesos amounted to 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, thus undershooting the official target of 4.2 percent of GDP. But Dujovne left the 2018 target of 3.2 percent of GDP unchanged, especially since the government cannot count on any tax whitewash windfalls this year.
CHINESE MARKET OPENS UP TO ARGENTINE BEEF AND LAMB
China last week opened up its gigantic market to frozen meat on the bone after 15 years of negotiations. The world’s most populous country could thus be importing up to a million tons of beef after importing a total of some 700,000 last year, 94,000 of which came from Argentina. Brazil, Australia, Uruguay and New Zealand are China’s leading beef suppliers at present. Agriculture Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere estimates that some 400 million of the 1.3 billion Chinese have the purchasing-power for Argentine beef.
GOVERNMENT OKS SHORT-SELLING IN CAPITAL MARKETS
The government moved to approve short-selling in its capital markets, publishing a resolution by the National Securities Commission in the Official Gazette on Monday. The resolution, according to a report by Reuters, reads: “Short-selling, in normal market conditions, plays an important role in ensuring financial markets function correctly, especially with regards to market liquidity and efficient price formation.”
NUMBER OF JOB POSTS UP 1.9% IN THIRD QUARTER
The number of jobs on the Argentine market rose 1.9 percent to 20.52 million in the third quarter last year, INDEC statistics bureau has announced. Just over half these employees (10.63 million) are registered while informal workers and the self-employed account for just under five million each. Among the registered employees almost a third – 3.46 million – work in the public sector.
BLOOMBERG: ITAÚ UNIBANCO EYES EXPANSION
Bloomberg published an article this week saying that Itaú Unibanco is looking to expand its investment-banking and wealth-management businesses in Argentina, quoting the Brazilian firm’s general director Eduardo Vassimon. The head of Latin America’s biggest lender by market value said: “Argentina’s October elections indicated that the nation may have at least six more years of good management, making companies – including us – more comfortable to invest.”