Archive for 31 mayo 2013

ARGENTINE UPDATE – May 31/30, 2013

31 mayo, 2013

 

FRIDAY, MAY 31ST

1. IRAN IN AMERICA’S BACKYARD (The Wall Street Journal Online)

 

2. ARGENTINE PROSECUTOR ALLEGES IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES IN LATIN AMERICA (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

 

3. WORLD NEWS: ARGENTINA: LAW PARDONS TAX EVADERS WHO INVEST TO HELP NATION (The Wall Street Journal)

 

4. ARGENTINE TAX EVADERS WIN INVESTING ROUTE TO PARDONS (The Wall Street Journal Online)

 

5. ARGENTINE PIONEER SPIES TECHNICAL NICHE IN SEMICONDUCTORS (Financial Times)

 

6. ARGENTINA’S CONGRESS APPROVES TAX AMNESTY FOR UNDECLARED SAVINGS (Bloomberg News)

 

7. ARGENTINA HANDS OVER PLANNING CONTROL OF OIL TO 10 PROVINCES (Bloomberg News)

 

8. WSJ BLOG: ARGENTINA’S TAX AMNESTY: ANOTHER BID FOR CASH AS SOURCES AT HOME DRY UP? (Dow Jones News Service)

 

9. ARGENTINA PASSES TAX AMNESTY LAW IN BID TO CLAW BACK DOLLARS (Reuters News)

 

10. ARGENTINE CONGRESS PASSES TAX AMNESTY LEGISLATION (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

 

11. BUENOS AIRES CITY NIXES MORE BOND SALES BECAUSE OF HIGH RATES (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

 

12. BMI INDUSTRY VIEW – ARGENTINA – Q3 2013 (BMI Industry Insights – Oil & Gas, Americas)

 

13. ARGENTINA, PROVINCES AGREE TO MONITOR OIL PRODUCTION TARGETS, SPUR INVESTMENT (Platts Commodity News)

 

14. ARGENTINA APRIL GAS IMPORTS UP 50%, CRUDE EXPORTS FALL 61% FROM YEAR EARLIER (Platts Commodity News)

 

15. PANIC AND CHAOS AS ARGENTINA, CHILE BRACE FOR VOLCANO ERUPTION (UPI)

1. IRAN IN AMERICA’S BACKYARD (The Wall Street Journal Online)

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

30 May 2013

 

A terrorist attack that is thwarted is quickly overtaken in the news by other events, and that’s why the botched attempt to blow up John F. Kennedy airport in 2007 is barely remembered today. But a 500-page report filed by a diligent prosecutor in Buenos Aires on Wednesday may change that by providing solid evidence that the JFK plot was part of a far more extensive pattern of Iranian terrorism being sown all over the Western Hemisphere under the cover of embassies, cultural centers and religious institutions.

 

Alberto Nisman was appointed by former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. In 2006 he indicted seven Iranians in the case—including a former president; a former minister of information and security; a former foreign relations minister; and a former commander of the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. Interpol issued “red notices” but none of the accused has been arrested.

 

Another suspect in the case is Mohsen Rabbani, the former Iranian cultural attaché in Buenos Aires. A summary of the longer report released by the prosecutor’s office on Wednesday says Rabbini was a key player in an Iranian effort to “export revolution” to the region through “the dual use of diplomatic offices, cultural or charity associations and even mosques, as it was forewarned by the United Nations itself in General Assembly Resolution [number] 51/210 (1996).” The theaters of operation where he established an “Iranian presence” include Chile, Uruguay and Colombia, according to the summary.

 

Connecting the dots, Mr. Nisman found that one of the Iranian agents in the plan to incinerate JFK—Guyanese citizen Abdul Kadir—had a “close relationship and hierarchical subordination” to Rabbini. But Kadir’s activities were supported from other countries as well. He “was very important to the plot, not only because he was a successful leader, but also due to his deeply rooted connections with Iran and its embassy in Venezuela.” And he was active in countries throughout the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago; Dominica; Barbados; Antigua and Barbuda; Surinam; and Grenada. “His activity as an Iranian leader allowed him to establish and strengthen relations with other regional Islamic leaders and by 1998 he was the representative of the Secretariat of the Caribbean Islamic Movement.”

 

It is unlikely that either Kadir or Rabbani would have gotten as far as they did without the use of a seemingly benign activity to shield them. “The dual use of institutions controlled by the Iranian Regime, the cultural, religious and propagation activities conducted by its agents abroad and the radical indoctrination of its supporters” become operational with “the construction of intelligence stations,” the summary explains. These have “the capability to provide logistic, economic and operative support to terrorist attacks decided by the Islamic regime.”

 

The Argentine prosecutor alleges that the evidence he has collected “prove[s] the steps taken” in order “to infiltrate, for decades, large regions of Latin America,” and to “execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides so, both directly or through its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah.” Mr. Nisman has already gone a long way toward proving that in Argentina.

 

2. ARGENTINE PROSECUTOR ALLEGES IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES IN LATIN AMERICA (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Laurence Allan

30 May 2013

 

An Argentine prosecutor yesterday (29 May) claimed that Iran had installed “intelligence stations” in a number of regional countries during the 1990s with the aim of “committing, fomenting, and sponsoring terrorist acts, in accord with its goals to export the Iranian revolution”.  Albert Nisman, representing the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina:AMIA), which was the target of a huge bomb attack in 1994 in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead, made the assertions in a fresh submission to the legal proceedings over that attack. Nisman specifically argued that there were strong indications that Iran had established intelligence centres in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Surinam.  He also identified Mohsen Rabbani as the head of Iranian intelligence activities in the region at that time.

 

Rabbani was a cultural attaché at the Iranian embassy in Argentina at the time of the 1994 attack, and is one of a number of current or former Iranian officials wanted by INTERPOL in connection with that attack.  Two suspects in the bombing were cleared by Iran’s Guardian Council on 22 May to compete in Iran’s 14 June presidential election; former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohsen Rezai and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati. Velayati remains a senior advisor on foreign policy to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and is a front runner in the election.

 

Significance: Although Nisman’s claims relate to the past and as yet remain unverified, they are likely to reverberate strongly both in Argentina and in other regional countries. That is not least because the Argentine government has in recent months sought to improve relations with Iran, which have been strained since investigations shortly after the 1994 attack first revealed clear signs of Iranian involvement.  The two sides tentatively agreed to include discussions over how to deal with the issue as part of a memorandum, of understanding agreed in January this year. (see Argentina: 28 January 2013: ). Nisman’s further contribution to the case yesterday will add further arguments for those in Argentina, including the large Argentine Jewish community, who continue to fiercely oppose the Fernández de Kirchner governments’ attempts at rapprochement with Tehran. It is also likely to influence Argentine relations with Latin American countries that retain warm relations with Iran. Notably, Bolivia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs Juan Carlos Alurralde, currently visiting Tehran, on 28 May described Bolivia’s relations with Iran as “crucial”. That may be overstating the case for diplomatic effect. Intense Iranian diplomacy in the region in recent years has not succeeded in dispelling suspicions about Iranian intentions among many regional countries, and Nisman’s allegations are sure to find support in other regional countries, potentially complicating not just Iran’s relations with the region, but also regional relations themselves. Given the continued relations between figures suspected of involvement in the attack and Iran’s supreme leader, the likelihood of success for any Argentine calls for them to be held accountable is minimal.

3. WORLD NEWS: ARGENTINA: LAW PARDONS TAX EVADERS WHO INVEST TO HELP NATION (The Wall Street Journal)

By Taos Turner

31 May 2013

 

Argentina’s Congress passed controversial legislation that pardons tax evaders if they invest their hidden cash in construction projects or use it to buy bonds to help finance state-run oil company YPF SA. The law aims to bring much-needed U.S. dollars into the economy at a time when demand for the currency — and strict government limits on selling dollars — is causing problems for the country’s foreign-exchange rate and its housing industry.

 

4. ARGENTINE TAX EVADERS WIN INVESTING ROUTE TO PARDONS (The Wall Street Journal Online)

By Taos Turner

30 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES—Argentina’s Congress passed controversial legislation that pardons tax evaders if they invest their hidden cash in construction projects or use it to buy bonds to help finance state-run oil company YPF SA.

 

The law aims to bring much-needed U.S. dollars into the economy at a time when demand for the currency—and strict government limits on selling dollars—is causing problems for the country’s foreign-exchange rate and its housing industry.

 

Home sales crashed 41% in Buenos Aires in the first quarter of 2013 from a year earlier as confusion over the value of the peso wreaked havoc on the housing market, where transactions are traditionally done in dollars. The construction industry, which accounts for near 5% of overall economic output, has also suffered, and tens of thousands of workers have been laid off recently.

 

The ruling FPV party and its allies voted for the bill late Wednesday night, resulting in 130 votes in favor and 107 votes against in the Congress. FPV Congressman and former Deputy Economy Minister Roberto Feletti has said the law could lead Argentines to invest $5 billion.

 

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner is turning to tax dodgers to meet her government’s foreign-currency needs as the country’s central bank struggles to replenish its international reserves amid capital flight and a weak trade surplus. Argentina needs those reserves to pay its import bill and government creditors. On Wednesday, the reserves fell to a six-year low of around $38.5 billion.

 

In the absence of significant foreign-investment inflows, trade has become Argentina’s only significant source of hard currency. But government forecasts of a $13.4 billion trade surplus this year look increasingly unrealistic. The trade surplus shrank 43% to $2.46 billion in the January-April period from a year earlier on stagnant exports and a surge in energy imports.

 

Opposition politicians accused the government of being desperate to get dollars from anywhere it could and, as a result of this law, of putting the interests of criminals ahead of those of law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes.

 

“This law is unfair. It’s unfair in the same way that all tax-amnesty laws are [unfair]. It treats those who have broken the law better than those who have obeyed it. This is the worst type of tax amnesty. This law offers impunity for an enormous range of crimes,” said opposition Congressman and former Justice Minister Ricardo Gil Lavedra.

 

Mr. Gil Lavedra said money related to narcotics trafficking, money laundering and other illegal activities could end up being invested in Argentina legally because of the law.

 

But Congressman Agustin Rossi, a top Kirchner ally in Congress, denied this claim and said the amnesty will apply only to money that was legally earned but illegally hidden from the government to evade taxes. “That’s the money that we’re trying to attract in Argentina now,” Mr. Rossi said.

 

Congressman Claudio Lozano said Argentina’s growing need to import energy and its need to make coming debt payments are putting the government in a bind because it doesn’t have enough reserves on hand to meet the country’s financial needs. He said inflation is weakening the value of the peso and leading Argentines to seek safety in dollars.

 

Argentina is bucking a broader trend in Latin America, where many countries are seeing their foreign reserves grow amid low inflation and sustained economic growth.

 

A lack of confidence in Argentina’s currency and in government policies has led investors to withdraw their dollars from banks. It has also led people and companies to buy dollars in a vibrant black market because of fear that the peso will do nothing but lose value in the months and years ahead.

 

 

5. ARGENTINE PIONEER SPIES TECHNICAL NICHE IN SEMICONDUCTORS (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber in Chascomús

May 30, 2013

 

Workers in white coats and protective shoe covers pad across the duck-egg blue floor of a gleaming new facility built on the site of a former textile factory.

 

The machines purr rather than roar and it feels more like a sterile hospital than an important part of a 21st century industrial revolution for Latin America.

 

But Eduardo Eurnekian, one of Argentina’s most successful businessmen whose Corporación América runs 49 airports in seven Latin American and European countries, has spied what he sees as a new niche: semiconductors.

 

He is planning to invest $1.2bn into an operation that will initially produce chips for smart cards, such as rechargeable travel passes, as well as for mobile phones, bank cards and passports. But in time, the plan is to span the whole production chain: from extraction of silica sand, to manufacture of the silicon wafers from which chips are cut, to production of the sophisticated microchips themselves.

 

None of the technology is itself new – indeed, the factory, located in Chascomús, 120km (75 miles) south of Buenos Aires, will produce transistors, the “building blocks” of chips, spaced between 350 to 90 nanometres apart. Chips that form the digital brain of the latest gadgets, such as the iPad, are built with transistors spaced just 40nm apart and therefore much more powerful. Industry leaders, such as Intel, are building chips with transistors spaced 22nm apart.

 

But the company, Unitec Blue, is billing itself as a Latin American semiconductor pioneer, capable of supplying chips competitively to the region that are suited to a broad range of industrial applications that do not require the most cutting-edge technology.

 

“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” acknowledges Matías Gainza Eurnekian, Mr Eurnekian’s 27-year-old nephew and a former yachting world champion who is chief executive of Unitec Blue. For him, it’s not about producing more cheaply than Asia – something experts say would be impossible – but competing in things such as delivery time.

 

He currently buys silicon wafers from abroad that already contain some chips and further processes it. In a second phase, Unitec plans to take wafers and produce the integrated circuits themselves. “Many times, the design of the intellectual property is our own; other times it belongs to the clients and we produce under existing patents provided by them. We have a department of development for clients,” Mr Gainza Eurnekian said.

 

Companies in Argentina imported $980m-worth of chips in 2012 and that figure is expected to grow to $1.3bn this year, says Mr Gainza Eurnekian, adding that Brazil’s market is seven times larger. Meanwhile, the regional market from “south of Mexico down”, where Unitec hopes to compete, is worth $17bn, he says. “I can gain a lot in the logistics.”

 

Mr Gainza Eurnekian expects to supply chips to the producers in Brazil of finished products, such as a card with a chip inside, and is also eyeing contracts to supply passport chips to the US government.

 

Brazil has struggled for years to get a semiconductor industry up and running, but is also pitching hard to become a leading regional semiconductor producer. It already has a small-scale semiconductor manufacturer in Ceitec. Meanwhile, IBM and Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista’s EBX are also planning a joint-venture chip company

 

But Unitec is marketing itself aggressively as a pioneer and Mr Gainza Eurnekian says: “There’s no plant [in the region] that can compete.”

 

“I think there is room for a regional player because all of these foundries are not located in Latin America,” agreed Samuel Tuan Wang, research vice-president at Gartner, a technology consultancy. Most contract semiconductor manufacturers are found in Asia and the US, with the global industry dominated by Taiwan’s TSMC.

 

In Latin America, technology producer Intel owns a plant in Costa Rica, but it does not contract out its use to other chip companies.

 

Setting up Unitec Blue in Argentina, was not, however, without hurdles: Argentine import restrictions held up the delivery of the necessary machinery from Germany.

 

Now’s the time to invest in Argentina. Assets are cheap

– Eduardo Eurnekian, Argentine businessman

But import controls imposed by a protectionist-minded government seeking to spur local manufacturing could give Argentina a leg-up in developing microchip design and “deepening Argentina’s technological possibilities”, said Pedro Julián, an expert on the industry and professor at Argentina’s Universidad Nacional del Sur, who is working on a microchip design project and says a Unitec foundry could be “very complementary”.

 

“They’re moving into a segment in which we could use regional scale,” he added.

 

The venture, due for its official inauguration by Cristina Fernández, Agentina’s president, on June 4, is entirely funded by Corporación América’s own capital. “Now’s the time to invest in Argentina,” says Mr Eurnekian. “Assets are cheap.”

 

Argentina is blighted by inflation running at an estimated 24 per cent a year and foreign currency controls that have spooked other investors, including Brazil’s Vale, prompting it to dump a $6bn potash project.

 

But for Mr Eurnekian, the equation was simple. “I try to investigate niches where there is potential,” he says.

 

6. ARGENTINA’S CONGRESS APPROVES TAX AMNESTY FOR UNDECLARED SAVINGS (Bloomberg News)

By Eliana Raszewski

May 30, 2013

 

Argentina’s lower house of congress last night gave final approval to legislation that pardons tax dodgers who invest undeclared funds in either the construction industry or to finance increased oil and gas production.

 

The government says the legislation will help bring part of the $160 billion Argentines hide from the authorities into the economy, and rejected opposition arguments the amnesty provides an opportunity for drug dealers and other criminals to launder money.

 

“Under no circumstances are the anti-money laundering norms being suspended,” Roberto Feletti, a lawmaker from the ruling coalition Victory Front, said before the bill was passed by 130 to 107 votes. “The funds will enter the banking system, and financial institutions have the obligation to apply all the anti-money laundering norms.”

 

The legislation reflects President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s need for funds to finance YPF SA, the oil producer she seized a year ago on promises to expand output and reduce energy imports, opposition lawmaker Federico Pinedo said yesterday. The government seized 51 percent of YPF last year from Spain’s Repsol SA to stem fuel imports that doubled to $9.4 billion in 2011 and are expected to rise to as much as $15 billion this year.

 

Under the amnesty, Argentines with undeclared foreign-currency savings will be able to buy dollar bonds to finance increased energy production, or a dollar-denominated central bank certificate that can be used to acquire real estate or building materials.

 

Dollar Transactions

Property transactons are traditionally conducted in the U.S. currency in Argentina. A ban on most dollar purchases, introduced by Fernandez to stem record capital outflows in 2011, led real estate transactions in Buenos Aires to drop 48 percent in the first quarter from the same period two years earlier, according to the capital’s public notaries’ college. Construction activity has fallen in 11 of the past 12 months, government data show.

 

Those accepting the amnesty won’t have to pay past-due taxes or explain the origin of the funds. The energy bond pays 4 percent interest and matures in 2016.

 

The bill was approved by the Senate on May 22.

 

In 2009, about $4 billion of hidden money was declared to the authorities under a law that enabled savers to whitewash funds by paying a tax of as much as 8 percent. According to deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, Argentines held about $160 billion in undeclared funds in 2006, of which $120 billion had been funneled into foreign bank accounts.

 

Terrorism, Laundering

The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental money laundering watchdog, in February included Argentina, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Cuba and Bolivia in a list of countries that needed stricter controls and sanctions to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

 

Although lawmakers from Fernandez’s coalition say they have undertaken measures to comply with all the FATF requirements, opposition Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso said the bill flies in the face of those demands.

 

The government has pledged that those who hand over dollars in exchange for the bonds will be repaid in greenbacks when they mature.

 

“It’s a bad joke for all those Argentines who follow and respect the law,” Miguel Giubergia, a lawmaker from the opposition Civic Radical Union party, said during yesterday’s debate.

 

Concerned that 24 percent annual inflation, a widening budget deficit and declining central bank reserves would force the government to devalue the peso, Argentines took $21.5 billion out of South America’s second-biggest economy in 2011.

 

Within days of her re-election in October that year, Fernandez started to tighten currency controls, including limits on dividend remittances abroad, taxes on use of credit and debit cards abroad, and a ban on dollar purchases for savings or real estate transactions.

 

While her measures slowed capital outflows to $3.4 billion in 2012, central bank reserves, which she uses to pay the nation’s foreign debt, continued to decline, reaching $38.6 billion on May 29 from a record $52.6 billion in January 2011.

 

7. ARGENTINA HANDS OVER PLANNING CONTROL OF OIL TO 10 PROVINCES (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez and Silvia Martinez

May 30, 2013

 

Argentina created a commission to oversee oil companies’ business plans that will be controlled by governors of 10 provinces with oil and natural gas resources in a bid to boost efficiency and output.

 

Oil unions will give advice to the 14-member commission that will also include ministers from Argentina’s labor and planning departments as well as the energy secretary and deputy economy minister, according to the accord signed earlier today between the federal government, the governors and union leaders.

 

“The state is creating a profitable framework that’s more than acceptable for the industry because we know we need private sector help to produce our natural resources,” Deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said at a press conference in Buenos Aires.

 

Oil companies will have to submit annual investment plans to the commission that in turn will seek monthly advice from a technical board of provincial governor appointees and appointees by seven oil unions that signed today’s 11-page agreement.

 

“The commission will monitor oil field activities including labor, production targets, output and investment,” Planning Minister Julio De Vido said at the conference.

 

The commission will increase monitoring of oil and gas companies, Martin Buzzi, governor of Patagonian province of Chubut said at the same press conference.

 

“We will monitor every well not just overseeing volume but also the number of drilling rigs, wells drilled and pipelines,” Buzzi said.

 

8. WSJ BLOG: ARGENTINA’S TAX AMNESTY: ANOTHER BID FOR CASH AS SOURCES AT HOME DRY UP? (Dow Jones News Service)

By Charles Roth

30 May 2013

 

Having cleaned out the nation’s cupboards in recent years, Argentina’s cash-strapped government doesn’t have very many places left to find cash.

 

Perhaps that’s why President Cristina Kirchner is turning to “criminals, ” as her political opposition calls them, in offering an amnesty to tax evaders if they invest their non-declared money in the bonds of the country’s nationalized oil company or in construction projects.

 

In addition to the unfairness of the amnesty for those who have dutifully paid their taxes, ” those accepting the amnesty won’t have to pay past-due taxes or explain the origin of the funds,” Bloomberg reports.

 

But Argentina, which defaulted on its sovereign debt in 2001 and has been effectively cut off from overseas capital markets ever since, is in a bind.

 

Fiscal data Wednesday showed Argentina’s primary budget surplus–government revenues minus spending and before debt payments–dove 94% in March. As a result, its fiscal deficit, including debt payments, swelled 49% that month.

 

Heavy government spending to fuel economic growth over the years was manageable as long as prices on the resource-rich country’s commodities exports held up. But ever since the 2008 global financial crisis, commodities prices have been rather volatile. Whatever the prices and production levels of Argentina’s grains and beef, though, populism gets ever-more expensive.

 

So Argentina’s government takes desperate measures in the name of the poor or others affected by its actions, a number of which came in the wake of the global crisis, as commodities prices fell.

 

The government at first tried to exact more money out of the country’s farmers, whose strikes against increases of grains export taxes succeeded. That source of funding cut off, the government then simply nationalized the country’s private pension fund system, securing nearly $30 billion in assets and annual inflows, at the time, of $5 billion. Kirchner said she was protecting savers from financial market turmoil.

 

But the following year, still caught short of funds, her administration garnered roughly $4 billion in a tax amnesty, which in that case at least levied a penalty of up to 8% on declared funds.

 

Not being nearly enough, Kirchner’s administration forced out the head of the central bank in 2010 and replaced him with an ally who immediately got on board the government’s ” economic growth with social fairness” program. The central bank has since coughed up well over $20 billion in reserves to service the government’s debts.

 

Amid a dwindling trade surplus and debt servicing, central bank reserves now stand at a lowly $38.5 billion, down from nearly $53 billion in January 2011.

 

To protect the reserves against capital flight, a re-elected Kirchner later that year slapped strict capital controls on the economy, which, along with high inflation, price controls and other types of state intervention, have caused foreign direct investment to dry up. One aspect of the restrictions–a ban on the traditional use of dollars in property sales–has caused a collapse in the real estate market.

 

Another funding source has also passed away: Venezuela’s deceased leader Hugo Chavez had his treasury buy billions of dollars in Argentine debt in years past. But with his successor fiscally challenged amid an economic downturn in the oil-rich country, not much can be expected of Kirchner’s socialist ally anytime soon.

 

A year ago, Kirchner also seized oil company YPF from Spain’s Repsol SA, alleging that the company was under-investing in production, even though heavy export taxes and price caps on domestic fuel sales undercut invest budgets of oil companies operating in Argentina.

 

But the government is now finding it hard to boost investment in the sector, and is spending more and more on fuel imports, causing the trade surplus to decline and threatening the already diminished level of central bank reserves.

 

An Argentine government official reckons Argentines have well over $100 billion in undeclared funds, most of it parked in foreign bank accounts.

 

The latest tax amnesty might simply reflect that there’s not much left at home to take.

 

 

9. ARGENTINA PASSES TAX AMNESTY LAW IN BID TO CLAW BACK DOLLARS (Reuters News)

By Hugh Bronstein

30 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 30 (Reuters) – Argentina hopes to reactivate its ailing energy and real estate sectors with a new law enticing both the middle-class as well as investors holding assets overseas to declare their greenbacks and put them back in circulation through a tax amnesty plan.

 

The new law was approved by Congress late on Wednesday night after a marathon debate in which the opposition lambasted the measure for not addressing what it sees as the root cause of the country’s capital flight problem – a lack of confidence.

 

Argentina, locked out of the international bond market since its 2002 sovereign debt default, needs foreign currency inflows to develop its fledgling shale oil sector and reactivate a real estate market that operates in dollars.

 

Some $200 billion mostly undeclared dollars are stuffed under mattresses in Argentina or socked away abroad, according to official government projections.

 

People here tend to seek safety in the U.S. currency rather than leaving their savings vulnerable to the country’s inflation rate, measured by private economists at 25 percent per year – well above the official rate – and unpredictable government policies that have sapped confidence in Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

 

Under the new law, Argentines who want to take advantage of the amnesty offer must spend undeclared dollars to purchase bonds which will be used to finance energy and infrastructure projects. The bonds will have a 2016 maturity and a 4 percent coupon.

 

Argentina will also offer a separate savings instrument backed by the central bank to finance housing projects.

 

Opponents of the law said it is aimed at masking the effects of being locked out of traditional financing, which requires sustainable government policies.

 

Alfonso Prat-Gay, an opposition lawmaker and former central bank chief, predicted low participation in the amnesty plan. He said the law “will do nothing to improve the economy,” because it does not address the core fact that saving in pesos is a losing proposition.

 

He also said the measure could make Argentina more vulnerable to money laundering.

 

“This is a tailor-made suit for tax evaders,” Prat-Gay said during a debate in the lower house of Congress that lasted nearly until midnight before a final vote was taken. The bill finally passed 130 to 107. It had already passed in the Senate.

 

Government-allied lawmakers said the country would remain protected by anti-money laundering laws already on the books.

 

“At no point are we suspending our anti-money-laundering norms,” lower house member Roberto Feletti, a former vice economy minister, said during the debate.

 

The peso has shed 23 percent of its value on the black market this year, trading at 8.9 per dollar on Thursday, about 68 percent weaker than the official exchange rate.

 

With public spending rising ahead of October mid-term elections, the country’s balance of payments position has worsened and the government’s need for dollars has become acute.

 

The government of the South American grains exporter virtually banned foreign currency purchases a year ago to stem capital flight as well as to safeguard dollars to pay for imports and repay debts.

 

“The tax amnesty, which openly targets foreign currency holdings, reveals that the government is rightly concerned about the deterioration of the external sector,” said Ignacio Labaqui, who analyzes Argentina for consultancy Medley Global Advisors.

 

The country’s balance of payments has weakened considerably over the last five years.

 

“Still, it is puzzling that rather than trying to attract foreign investment, the administration opts to combat a deteriorating external sector by courting undeclared funds which in some case might come from a dubious origin,” Labaqui said.

 

 

10. ARGENTINE CONGRESS PASSES TAX AMNESTY LEGISLATION (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Laurence Allan

30 May 2013

 

Argentina’s lower chamber of congress yesterday (29 May) passed contentious government legislation to establish a tax amnesty which aims to bring US dollars held ‘unofficially’ by Argentine citizens – either in foreign accounts or in cash – into the formal economy. The law is the latest government response to a scarcity of foreign exchange, which has seen the authorities impose a range of currency controls in recent months. The Chamber of Deputies voted 130 in favour to 107 against in yesterday’s vote, with the governing Victory Front (Frente para la Victoria: FpV) pushing the measure through with the support of its allies. Argentine citizens who wish to reintroduce their foreign exchange without taxation into the Argentine banking system will have three months do so after the publication of the law in the official government bulletin, likely to happen within a matter of days.

 

The government estimates that around USD200 billion dollars are held unofficially outside the Argentine banking system, and aims to ‘capture’ some 2% of that alleged total (see Argentina: 23 May 2013: ). The passage of the law was fiercely contested by the political opposition, which argues that it will encourage money laundering. Such criticisms were met with a flat rejection by government figures, including congressional chief whip Agustín Rossi, who drew a clear distinction between “dinero negro” (foreign exchange held unofficially) and “dinero sucio” (‘dirty’ money) assumed to be linked to illicit activities. The government has consistently asserted that any foreign exchange that enters the formal banking system as a consequence of the amnesty will be subject to the legal norms focused on money laundering.

 

Significance: Argentina’s anti-money laundering mechanisms have been a focus of concern for the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force in recent years, but the government has introduced new legislation and procedures since 2011 to address those concerns, and in January 2013 Argentina’s state Financial Information Unit (Unidad de Información Financiera: UIF) re-established links with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FinCen) after a four-year suspension. However, a move by the Argentine government to strengthen and widen the reach of its UIF in early May prompted concerns that the unit had been “politicised”. The combination of that strengthening of the UIF and the new legislation is likely to raise further concerns that the government could use the law to pressurise some business sectors (see Argentina: 7 May 2013: ). One early indication of that risk was a meeting called by Minister of Commerce Guillermo Moreno on 28 May, where he strongly encouraged executives from energy operators including YPF, Pan American Energy, Chevron, and Petrobras to buy the new tax-free ‘bonds’ – the Real Estate Investment Deposit (CEDIN) and the Argentine Bonds for Economic Development (BAADE).

 

11. BUENOS AIRES CITY NIXES MORE BOND SALES BECAUSE OF HIGH RATES (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

By Shane Romig

30 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s capital city isn’t planning to sell more debt this year due to, among other things, the high interest rates investors are demanding, Buenos Aires City Finance Minister Nestor Grindetti said Thursday.

 

Global debt markets want exorbitant rates of about 15% because of federal government policies that have rattled investor confidence, Mr. Grindetti said.

 

The city would like to borrow more to fund infrastructure projects, but not at the current rates, the minister said on the sidelines of a press conference with Mayor Mauricio Macri.

 

Mr. Macri is a leading opposition figure and harsh critic of President Cristina Kirchner.

 

Mrs. Kirchner has spooked investors with draconian capital controls, an apparent tolerance for inflation that most economists say is above 20%, and a string of nationalizations, including the country’s largest oil company, YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA).

 

Even though Argentina has restructured about 93% of the $100 billion in public debt it defaulted on in 2001, Mrs. Kirchner’s government remains locked out of global debt markets as investors demand a high risk premium to lend her money.

 

Until early 2012, Buenos Aires was both willing and able to borrow abroad.

 

In February 2012, the city sold $415 million in five-year global bonds at a 9.95% interest rate. The previous year, it issued $475 million in five-year global bonds at 12.5%.

 

Buenos Aires has now turned to the domestic capital market to raise funding. Its dollar-linked bonds are in high demand by local investors looking to shield their savings from inflation and the depreciation of the Argentine currency on the regulated foreign exchange market.

 

The Central Bank of Argentina has allowed the peso to weaken about 7.4% against the dollar so far this year.

 

In March, the city sold $216 million in six-year bonds at an interest rate of just 3.98%. The bonds are denominated in dollars, but pay out in pesos.

 

Moody’s Investors Service rated the dollar-linked bonds deep in junk territory at B3 with a negative outlook.

 

Despite the city’s relative fiscal stability, a slowdown in the broader economy, rising taxes, and the uncertainty surrounding the exchange rate weigh on the rating, Moody’s said.

 

“The lack of consistent and foreseeable policies at the national level affect the institutional framework under which the city operates,” the credit rating company said.

 

12. BMI INDUSTRY VIEW – ARGENTINA – Q3 2013 (BMI Industry Insights – Oil & Gas, Americas)

30 May 2013

 

BMI View : Argentina’s technically recoverable shale resources are the third largest in the world, behind only China and the US. Yet the Argentina’s business environment has turned increasingly negative in recent years, and this has only been further exacerbated by the expropriation of YPF from Repsol in early 2012. There appears , however, to be a small but growing cadre of international and national oil companies seeking to gain first-mover advantage by tapping potentially game-changing shale resources in the Vaca Muerta formation – despite Argentina’s risky business environment. If the country is able to make the necessary investments, its shale potential could provide the country with an opportunity to become a regional, and potentially global, gas powerhouse . Nevertheless, we continue to highlight the challenges to operating there, and expect a difficult progression to large-scale unconventional natural gas production.

 

Indeed, we retain our view that rising gas production will fail to keep pace with rising consumption, leading to an increasingly costly import burden over our forecast period.

 

The main trends and developments we highlight in the Argentine oil and gas sector are:

 

* There appears to be an uptick in momentum with regards to investment in Argentina’s shale potential, with several companies calculating that the benefit of having first-mover advantage in Vaca Muerta will outweigh the risks associated with investment in the sector. Should YPF prove successful in unlocking some of its massive shale potential through participation with foreign partners, it could provide the country with an opportunity to stave off or possibly even reverse a decline in gas production – giving the country net importer status over the next decade.

 

* Although we are holding on to our forecasts, which highlight the growing gas import burden, recent developments are generating significant upside risk to them. Indeed, in addition to Uruguayan Ancap’s negotiations in early 2013, we have also provided extensive analysis of the deal which was signed by Chevron and YPF in late 2012, as well as that of Argentina’s Bridas Corporation (which is 50% owned by China’s CNC). In April 2013 Dow Chemical signed an MoU with YPF to develop the El Orejano block. For its part, Chevron is in the midst of a pilot project with YPF, which will involve the drilling of 100 wells in 2013 at a shared cost of US$1bn, although an ongoing dispute with Ecuador is being played out in Argentine courts, resulting in a freezing of its assets. YPF and Chevron both acknowledged the negative effects this was having on their joint shale development plans.

 

* YPF’s investment plan envisages US$7bn in capital expenditure (capex) each year to 2017, focusing on the unconventional plays at Vaca Muerta and marginal fields. The aim is to increase production to 219.2 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) by 2017, a rise of 37% on current production levels. YPF aims to increase the number of new wells to 50 per year, in comparison to 19 wells per year between 2007 and 2011. Prior to its expropriation, Repsol-YPF had estimated that it would invest US$25bn per year to double the country’s current oil and gas production.

 

* Conventional oil volumes will continue to come under pressure, though the plan to increase production from marginal fields could provide some respite if implemented as envisaged by YPF. Our current estimates assume oil output declining slowly but steadily in the coming years. By 2017, we expect Argentina to be pumping an average 715,000 barrels per day (b/d). We reiterate that we have not yet begun to factor in the country’s massive shale potential, which therefore provides considerable upside risk to this forecast.

 

* One upside risk to our oil production forecast comes from recent activities in the country by President Energy, which is looking to revive production at its Puesto Guardian concession in north-west Argentina using fracking techniques. A return to more significant production volumes, which peaked at 9,000b/d in the 1980s, would pose a modest upside risk to our oil production forecast. However, we still expect the current decline in oil production to continue over the next decade, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years.

 

* The Argentine government has continued to reform its fiscal regime – with a cut in the export taxes levied on domestically produced oil – in an attempt to increase its attractiveness to foreign investment. With this change, exporters will now realise US$70 per barrel (bbl) for oil sold abroad, rather than US$42/bbl as was previously the case. The change follows a November revision of wellhead natural gas prices, which are to rise from US$5per mn British Thermal Units (mnBTU) to US$7.50/mnBTU in a bid to further incentivise production.

 

* Artificially low domestic prices for fuels continue to insulate demand, with our forecast for annual average growth in oil consumption of 2.1 % through to 2017, reaching 777,188b/d. Exacerbating this dynamic in the short term is the freeze of consumer energy prices announced by the government in April 2013. The move is an effort to mitigate inflationary pressures in advance of the October 2013 congressional elections.

 

* The trend of importing more and more refined fuels while exporting less and less crude oil will continue, pushing the cost of imports higher. By 2018 we see net oil imports of 13,360b/d and rising thereafter, ending Argentina’s position as a net oil exporter.

 

* Our forecasts suggest that natural gas production will reach 40.5bn cubic metres (bcm) by 2017, although, again, we are not factoring in any shale gas production at this preliminary stage. Under the current forecast scenario, imports of natural gas are expected to exceed 17bcm by 2017, up from 7.4bcm in 2011.

 

At the time of writing we assumed an OPEC basket oil price for 2013 of US$108.40/bbl, falling to US$104.00/bbl in 2014.

 

13. ARGENTINA, PROVINCES AGREE TO MONITOR OIL PRODUCTION TARGETS, SPUR INVESTMENT (Platts Commodity News)

By Charles Newbery

30 May 2013

 

Buenos Aires (Platts)–30May2013/405 pm EDT/2005 GMT   Argentina’s federal government and 10 hydrocarbon-producing provinces agreed Thursday to take steps to spur exploration and production investment and to monitor the spending, rig counts and output targets of private oil companies. They parties created two commissions with the goal of regaining the country’s energy self-sufficiency lost in the late 1990s and early 2000s due to dwindling output, maturing fields and weak investment, according to a statement by the Planning Ministry, which oversees national energy affairs.

 

The provinces, through the Federal Organization of Hydrocarbon Producing States of Argentina (OFEPHI), vowed to “develop legislation to guarantee the regulatory framework for investment, as well as to promote investment in oil exploration and production,” the ministry said.

 

Argentina is trying to rekindle energy investment after a decade of declining production sparked chronic shortages in natural gas, diesel and fuel oil as well as a cutback in energy exports and a surge in imports. The investment decline gained pace in 2003, when the ruling party took office and ramped up state intervention in the sector with price controls and regulatory changes, prompting oil companies to shift spending to more stable and profitable markets.

 

To turn things around, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seized control of the country’s biggest energy company, YPF, from Spain’s Repsol last year. YPF now plans to invest $37.2 billion to increase oil and gas production 32% by 2017 after a decade of declining by 6% a year. The company is focusing on developing the country’s huge potential for shale oil and gas production, as well as by using assisted recovery techniques to squeeze more out of mature reserves. Planning Minister Julio De Vido, the country’s chief energy strategist, said more investment is needed to meet rising demand, doubled since 2003.

 

“This explains the need to recover self-sufficiency,” De Vido said during a televised press conference.

 

The new commissions will monitor the investment and production targets of private companies, including with taking regular censuses of rig counts and exploration, production and employment levels on a field-by-field basis.

 

REVITALIZING ENERGY INVESTMENT

 

Deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, who doubles as a board member of YPF, said at the conference that the Kirchner administration has taken steps over the past year to revitalize energy investment, including by doubling the wellhead price of gas to $7.50/MMBtu for production from new wells and developments. That’s up from an average of $2-$3/MMBtu for output from existing wells.

 

Other steps have included exploration incentives, in particular for heavy crude, a reduction in biodiesel prices for refiners, and a hike in prices for gas sold in its compressed form as a vehicular fuel.

 

“The state is creating a framework for profits that is more than reasonable for the oil sector, so we need private companies to join the enormous effort that YPF is making,” Kicillof said.

 

YPF has ramped up investment, including by deploying 22 new drilling rigs this year, Kicillof said. The effort is starting to make a difference in production and employment, he added.

 

“We want all companies to do as much as YPF,” he said. “Argentina wants to quickly see the results so it can cut imports due to the supply shortages.”

 

YPF produces a third of the country’s 536,000 b/d of crude and a quarter of its 115 million cu m/d of gas. The rest is produced by private players led by Chevron, CNOOC-backed Pan American Energy, Petrobras, Pluspetrol, Sinopec, Tecpetrol and Total.

 

 

14. ARGENTINA APRIL GAS IMPORTS UP 50%, CRUDE EXPORTS FALL 61% FROM YEAR EARLIER (Platts Commodity News)

By Charles Newbery

30 May 2013

 

Buenos Aires (Platts)–30May2013/342 pm EDT/1942 GMT    Argentina’s natural gas imports rose 50% to 29 million cubic meters/d in April, compared with 19.3 million cu m/d during the same period last year, the Energy Secretariat said Thursday.

 

Those imports were up 2.1% compared with 24.5 million cu m/d in March, according to a monthly data report.

 

The country’s crude exports dropped 61% and imports rose in April compared with the year-earlier level, the secretariat said. Argentina exported 31,606 barrels/d in April, down from 81,217 b/d in April 2012 and 32,526 b/d in March, the department said in the data report.

 

The exports this past April and March were of Escalante crude, which has a gravity of 24 API and 0.25% sulfur. It is the only Argentine crude exported on a regular basis. In the year-earlier period, the country exported 52,919 b/d of Escalante and the rest of Canadon Seco, another stream of crude.

 

Argentina imported the equivalent of 8,992 b/d of crude in April compared with zero imports in the year-earlier period and 10,525 b/d this past March. Refinor, which operates a 15,850 b/d refinery in the north of the country, made all of the imports in March and April.

 

Argentina had not imported crude for years until 2012, when it had to turn to foreign suppliers to make up for dwindling domestic production, in particular during the May to September cold season and the December-January harvest period and summer holidays.

 

The country’s oil production fell 33% to 570,000 b/d in 2012 from a record 847,000 b/d in 1998 on weak exploration and limited finds, according to analysts. This has led the country to reduce crude exports and start importing supplies to meet domestic demand.

 

Meanwhile, Argentina, which relies on natural gas to meet half of its energy needs, imports supplies by pipeline from Bolivia and in its liquefied form from global suppliers.

 

Bolivian gas imports totaled 12.6 million cu m/d in April, up from 9.8 million cu m/d in April 2012 and down from 16.4 million cu m/d in March.

 

LNG imports shot up to the equivalent of 16.4 million cu m/d in send-out capacity in April from 9.5 million cu m/d in the year-earlier period and 12 million cu m/d in March, the report showed.

 

Argentina is boosting gas imports as domestic production declines in response to limited exploration and maturing fields. Gas production fell 22% to 111.6 million cu m/d in March, from a peak of 143.1 million cu m/d in 2004, according to the latest industry data. Consumption surged 33% to an average of 126 million cu m/d in 2012 from 2003 on a growing economy and price controls that have made it the cheapest source of energy.

 

The government has put a priority on importing gas because of its lower price compared with diesel and fuel oil, according to officials. The country is paying an average of $10-12/MMBtu for Bolivian gas and $16-18/MMBtu for LNG.

 

Even so, the strategy, once focused on stepping up LNG imports, has shifted to a preference for Bolivian gas on the lower price. Argentina plans to ramp up the imports to 19.2 million cu m/d this year from 16.3 million cu m/d in the second half of 2012 as more pipeline capacity comes online. The target is to reach 27.7 million cu m/d in 2017.

 

Argentina exported 165,382 cu m/d of gas to Chile and Uruguay in April, a fraction of the 20 million cu m/d it was exporting as recently as 2004 by pipeline to those countries and Brazil. Argentina still exports gas supplies despite a production decline because of a lack of domestic pipeline capacity to deliver within the country.

 

 

 

15. PANIC AND CHAOS AS ARGENTINA, CHILE BRACE FOR VOLCANO ERUPTION (UPI)

May 30, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 30 (UPI) — Argentina and Chile braced for more chaotic conditions as authorities battled to secure an orderly evacuation of people living in communities in a border area at risk from a restive volcano.

 

Attempts to complete the evacuation of more than 3,000 residents from communities near the 9,700-foot Copahue Volcano in Chile were hampered by arguments over the evacuees’ livestock and the animals’ safe transit.

 

Farmers with scant personal possessions other than cattle and other farm animals challenged evacuation plans.

 

Long delays were made worse by heavy rainfall and snow, The Santiago Times in the Chilean capital reported.

 

Some evacuees reached the town of Ralc near Copahue and the Ralco National Reserve in the central Chilean region of Bio Bio.

 

Officials warned the volcano could erupt any time after a series of tremors and gas clouds from the crater hit the area.

 

Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service said it recorded an “upward trend” in seismic activity in the volcano.

 

Both governments issued a “red alert” as they set about evacuating people from localities near the volcano. More than 600 people were ordered to leave Argentine villages and towns near the Copahue, including the Patagonian ski resort of Caviahue in Argentina.

 

“This evacuation is obligatory, it’s not voluntary,” Chilean Interior and Security Minister Andres Chadwick said.

 

Safety measures have included evacuation of people and farm animals within a 15-mile radius of the volcano.

 

The Copahue volcano was last active in December but went quiet after several gas eruptions. The affected area overlaps Chile’s Bio Bio region and Argentina’s Neuquen province.

 

News of the volcano was overshadowed in Argentina by anti-government demonstrations and strikes. Protesters are demanding income tax reforms and rise in pensions and wages.

 

Gov. Jorge Sapag of the Neuquen province said, “The volcano will have the last word” and urged everyone not to speculate about the eruption might start.

 

He defended the governments’ decision to issue a red alert, which was a response to the experts’ reading of the volcanic activity.

 

“The decision to shift to red alert evacuation was a wise (one), because the magma is rising,” Sapag told news media.

 

He said “microearthquakes are still occurring, a critical mass is rising through the conduit of the volcano, so we have to be attentive to see if the final process of the volcano is solid, liquid or gaseous,” MercoPress reported.

 

Copahue had a major eruption in 1992, Chilean Mining Ministry data indicated. The volcano began stirring again in 2002, its strongest activity in more than 20 years, weather.comreported on its website.

 

About 500 of more than 3,000 volcanoes in Chilean Andes are said to be active. Nevados Ojos del Salado on the Argentine-Chilean border is the world’s highest active volcano, last reported to have spewed lava about 1,000 years ago, though details of the event remain sketchy.

 

 

===============================================================================================================
THURSDAY, MAY 30TH

1. ARGENTINE PROSECUTOR ACCUSES IRAN OF INFILTRATING SOUTH AMERICA TO LAUNCH TERRORIST ATTACKS (The Washington Post)

 

2. PROSECUTOR IN ARGENTINA SEES IRAN PLOT (The New York Times)

 

3. WORLD NEWS: PROSECUTOR ACCUSES IRAN OF ‘INFILTRATING’ REGION (The Wall Street Journal)

 

4. ARGENTINA TAX AMNESTY LAUNDERING FREE PASS, OPPOSITION SAYS (Bloomberg News)

 

5. BILLIONAIRE EURNEKIAN INVESTING $1.2 BILLION IN CHIP TECHNOLOGY (Bloomberg News)

 

6. IRAN SET UP TERRORIST NETWORKS IN LATIN AMERICA -ARGENTINE PROSECUTOR (Reuters News)

 

7. ARGENTINA’S GOVERNMENT TRIMS PRICE CONTROLS TO 500 BASIC GOODS (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

8. CAPITAL ECONOMICS SEES ARGENTINA STAYING CLEAR OF RECESSION IN 2013 (Business News Americas)

1. ARGENTINE PROSECUTOR ACCUSES IRAN OF INFILTRATING SOUTH AMERICA TO LAUNCH TERRORIST ATTACKS (The Washington Post)

May 29, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The Argentine prosecutor who charged a handful of former Iranian officials with masterminding the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center accused Iran on Wednesday of “infiltrating” South America and setting up intelligence networks to carry out more terrorist attacks in the region.

 

Alberto Nisman accused Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attache in Buenos Aires and a suspect in the attack that killed 85 people, of working continually over the last two decades to develop an intelligence network in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Surinam and Trinidad and Tobago.

 

“These are sleeper cells. They have activities you wouldn’t imagine. Sometimes they die having never received the order to attack,” Nisman said as he presented a 500-page indictment.

 

He said Iran has sought “to infiltrate the countries of Latin America and install secret intelligence stations with the goal of committing, fomenting and fostering acts of international terrorism in concert with its goals of exporting the revolution.”

 

Iran no longer has an ambassador in Argentina. No one answered the phone after hours Wednesday at the Iranian Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.

 

The prosecutor has tried for years in vain to get Rabbani and other the suspects extradited to face trial in Argentina. Iran denies any involvement in Argentina’s worst terrorist attack, but has agreed to set up a “truth commission” to facilitate Nisman’s taking their testimony in Tehran. Nisman said it’s not his role to comment on that accord, which has been harshly criticized by Argentine Jewish leaders.

 

Nisman said the attack that destroyed the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association building was no isolated incident, but “part of a much larger plot, in which the role of Rabbani was not limited to Argentina but extended as far as Guyana, as well as being responsible for coordinating these activities across all of South America.”

 

The indictment now goes to the judge overseeing the case, Rodolfo Canicoba Corral. Nisman said he also sent copies to the countries he named, in keeping with Argentina’s international agreements, so that they too can take action.

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles welcomed Nisman’s indictment and said its evidence shows Argentina should end its agreeent with Iran for the joint commission.

 

“There is no question that the AMIA bombing was an action planned and carried out by Iranians and their agents. Prosecutor Nisman’s expose of the Tehran regime’s continent-wide tentacles must render the Iran-Argentine cooperation agreement on investigating the AMIA bombing null and void,” said a statement issued by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Dr. Shimon Samuels and Sergio Widder, senior officials at center.

 

Nisman said that he has compiled a huge file of evidence including reports from the region, Europe and the United States, and that Iran’s involvement goes way beyond the 1994 bombing. He described a decades-long effort by Iran to lay the groundwork for future terrorist attacks, either using Iranian agents “or through their terrorist ally Hezbollah.”

 

The indictment names eight Iranis and a Lebanese national, and Nisman urged Interpol to help arrest all of them. In addition to Rabbani, they include Iran’s current defense minister, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi; former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; former Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian; former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, former Revolutionary Guard chief Mohsen Rezaei; former ambassador to Argentina Hadi Soleimanpour; and the Iranian Embassy’s former third-ranking diplomat, Ahmad Reza Asghari.

 

Nisman said the indictment provides new elements that strengthen the case against Iran’s top officials, and proves that Rabbani oversaw Abdul Kadir, who is now serving life in prison for a frustrated attack on New York’s John F. Kennedy airport in 2007.

 

The accord between Iran and Argentina on the “truth commission” has yet to go into effect. The deal has been fiercely defended by the government of President Cristina Fernandez as the best means of resolving a case that has moved forward only in fits and starts in Argentina’s judiciary, and been frustrated all along the way by Iran’s refusal to cooperate.

 

2. PROSECUTOR IN ARGENTINA SEES IRAN PLOT (The New York Times)

By Simon Romero

30 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES — The special prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center here that killed 85 people released a report on Wednesday claiming that Iran had set up intelligence stations in different parts of Latin America with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks directly or through Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militant group.

 

The report by Alberto Nisman, who has already accused senior Iranian officials of planning and financing the 1994 bombing and Hezbollah of carrying it out, points to the resistance among some here to a recent thaw in relations between Argentina and Iran. The two nations agreed in January to establish a joint commission to investigate the attack, which has never been solved.

 

In his report, Mr. Nisman contended that the 1994 bombing was not an isolated event. ”It has to be investigated as a segment in a larger sequence,” he said in a report summary, pointing to parallels with the case of two Guyanese men convicted in 2010 of conspiring to attack Kennedy International Airport in New York.

 

In that case, a former Guyanese government official, Abdul Kadir, opened himself to a claim by prosecutors in New York that he secretly worked for years as a spy for Iran when he said during cross-examination that he had drafted regular reports to Iran’s ambassador in Venezuela on plans to infiltrate Guyana’s military and police. The plot to attack the airport did not advance beyond the conceptual stage.

 

Mr. Nisman, who has investigated the bombing since 2005, suggested that ”criminal plans” by Iran could be under development in Latin America, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

 

Still, he did not provide concrete evidence as to specific terrorist plots in any of those countries. Mr. Nisman’s report also mentioned the potential development in parts of Latin America by Iran of sleeper cells.

 

Iran has not handed over any officials wanted here in connection to the bombing.

 

3. WORLD NEWS: PROSECUTOR ACCUSES IRAN OF ‘INFILTRATING’ REGION (The Wall Street Journal)

30 May 2013

 

ARGENTINA

 

The Argentine prosecutor who charged a handful of former Iranian officials with masterminding the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center accused Iran on Wednesday of “infiltrating” South America and setting up intelligence networks to carry out more terrorist attacks in the region.

 

In a 500-page indictment, Alberto Nisman accused Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attache in Buenos Aires and a suspect in the attack that killed 85 people, of working continually over the last two decades to develop an intelligence network in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Surinam and Trinidad and Tobago. “These are sleeper cells,” he said.

 

 

4. ARGENTINA TAX AMNESTY LAUNDERING FREE PASS, OPPOSITION SAYS (Bloomberg News)

By Eliana Raszewski

May 29, 2013

 

Argentina’s lower house of congress is debating today legislation that pardons tax dodgers who invest undeclared funds in either the construction industry or in bonds to finance increased oil and gas production.

 

While the government says the amnesty aims to bring part of the $160 billion hidden from the authorities into the legal economy, opposition lawmakers say the offer is a carte blanche for drug dealers and other criminals to launder money.

 

“We are embarking on the path of a narco economy,” said opposition Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso in a telephone interview, before the start of today’s debate. “It’s totally immoral. The government doesn’t care about the means to reach its goal — raise more investment.”

 

The bill, which will probably be passed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s majority coalition tonight, reflects her need for funds to finance YPF SA, the oil producer she seized a year ago on promises to expand output and reduce energy imports, said opposition lawmaker Federico Pinedo. The government seized 51 percent of YPF last year from Spain’s Repsol SA to stem fuel imports that doubled to $9.4 billion in 2011 and are expected to rise to as much as $15 billion this year.

 

The shortage of dollars in the Argentine economy and Fernandez’s partial ban on their purchase has crushed the real estate market, almost halving property sales since she started to tighten currency controls to stem record capital flight in 2011.

 

Dollar Transactions

Under the amnesty, Argentines with undeclared foreign-currency savings will be able to buy dollar bonds to finance increased energy production, or a dollar-denominated central bank certificate that can be used to acquire real estate or building materials. Real estate deals are traditionally conducted in the U.S. currency in Argentina.

 

Those accepting the amnesty won’t have to pay past-due taxes or explain the origin of the funds. The energy bond pays 4 percent interest and matures in 2016.

 

The bill was approved by the Senate on May 22.

 

In 2009, about $4 billion of hidden money was declared to the authorities under a law that enabled savers to whitewash funds by paying a tax of as much as 8 percent. According to deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, Argentines held about $160 billion in undeclared funds in 2006, of which $120 billion had been funneled into foreign bank accounts.

 

Terrorism, Laundering

The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental money laundering watchdog, in February included Argentina, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Cuba and Bolivia in a list of countries that needed stricter controls and sanctions to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

 

Although lawmakers from Fernandez’s ruling Victory Front coalition say they have undertaken measures to comply with all the FATF requirements, Negre de Alonso said the bill flies in the face of those demands.

 

Argentina’s anti money-laundering office and tax agency will maintain policies of reporting any suspicious funds, Victory Front Senator Anibal Fernandez said during the May 22 debate.

 

“Investigations will be made into what people who bring back funds do for a living,” Senator Fernandez said. “The Financial Information Center and the tax agency have a control system that will be very difficult to avoid.”

 

Repaid Dollars

The government has pledged that those who hand over dollars in exchange for the bonds will be repaid in greenbacks when they mature.

 

Real estate purchases in Buenos Aires fell 48 percent in the first quarter of this year from the same period two years earlier, according to the capital’s college of public notaries. Construction activity has contracted in 11 of the 12 months to March, government data show.

 

“The plan doesn’t have a goal of increasing tax revenue or boost central bank reserves,” central bank President Mercedes Marco del Pont said on May 7.

 

Concerned that 24 percent annual inflation, a widening budget deficit and declining central bank reserves would force the government to devalue the peso, Argentines took $21.5 billion out of South America’s second-biggest economy in 2011.

 

Within days of her re-election in October that year, Fernandez started to tighten currency controls, including limits on dividend remittances abroad, taxes on foreign use of credit and debit cards and a ban on dollar purchases for savings. While her measures slowed capital outflows to $3.4 billion in 2012, central bank reserves, which she uses to pay the nation’s foreign debt, continued to decline, reaching $38.7 billion on May 28 from a record $52.6 billion in January 2011.

 

‘Desperate Move’

The amnesty is “a desperate move by the government in an attempt to revert a drop in reserves,” said Juan Pablo Fuentes, an economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. “They won’t have much success in bringing back capital because the main problem is the lack of confidence in the government.”

 

Argentina’s history of government meddling with savings has caused many of the country’s 40 million citizens to send money out of the country, place it in bank safety deposits boxes or hide it in their homes. Savers are concerned they may see a repeat of 2002, when then-President Eduardo Duhalde converted dollar deposits into pesos, which weakened as much as 70 percent against the U.S. currency that year. In 2008, Fernandez confiscated about $24 billion held in private pension funds and handed the money to the national social security agency.

 

“This bill creates a window for those who took money out of the country to bring it back,” Carlos Heller, a lawmaker from the ruling coalition, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a bill that has a bitter taste because it gives a benefit to someone who hasn’t followed the law. But this will also help all of society by getting more investment for energy and construction.”

 

5. BILLIONAIRE EURNEKIAN INVESTING $1.2 BILLION IN CHIP TECHNOLOGY (Bloomberg News)

By Daniel Cancel

May 29, 2013

 

Argentine businessman Eduardo Eurnekian is investing $1.2 billion in a chip plant south of Buenos Aires to tap a growing market in Latin America for credit cards, mobile phones and electronic identification.

 

The manufacturer, known as Unitec Blue, began production in February after an initial investment of $300 million with an output capacity of 1.2 billion chips a year, which will double by the end of 2016, according to its president Matias Gainza Eurnekian, Eduardo Eurnekian’s nephew.

 

Eurnekian, who is worth at least $1.3 billion, is expanding in Argentina at a time when currency controls, 24 percent annual inflation and import restrictions are deterring investment there. In the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness ranking, the country slipped nine spots to number 94 of 144 economies for the 2012-2013 period. Earlier this year, Eurnekian’s Corporacion America holding company bought 81 percent of Argentine oil company Cia. General de Combustibles for $200 million.

 

“Corporacion America is the most aggressive investor in the country right now,” Gainza Eurnekian, 28, said during a May 23 tour of the 10,000 square meter (108,000 square feet) plant in Chascomus, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the capital. “This is a long-term project so we don’t let current politics affect our strategy. We like to invest in Argentina because we’re Argentine.”

 

Foreign Investment

Vale SA, the world’s third-most valuable miner, abandoned a $6 billion potash project in Argentina’s Mendoza province in March after it failed to secure tax breaks and attract partners, saying the cost of the project had almost doubled. Brazilian meat producer Marfrig Alimentos SA (MRFG3) plans to close two beef plants it operates in Argentina as part of a strategy to cut costs, chief executive officer Sergio Rial said May 14.

 

Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy, was fifth in foreign direct investment in the region last year, trailing smaller economies such as Chile and Colombia, according to the United Nations.

 

Corporacion America operates 50 airports worldwide through Aeropuertos Argentina 2000. The holding also owns the Fin del Mundo winery in western Argentina, a construction company, and a postal service and bank in Armenia, where Eurnekian’s family originated.

 

Through CGC, the group has stakes in gas pipelines and oil fields in Argentina and Venezuela. Eurnekian, 80, is also working to partner with state-run YPF SA to develop shale deposits at Vaca Muerta, which may hold the world’s second-largest shale oil deposits after the U.S.

 

Corporacion America has annual sales of about $2 billion, according to Carolina Barros, a company spokeswoman.

 

Regional Growth

Latin America and the Caribbean is forecast to expand 3.4 percent this year, compared with growth of 0.3 percent in Europe and 1.9 percent in the U.S., according to the International Monetary Fund. Demand for SIM cards for mobile phones, which Unitec Blue produces, is surging in the region as 81 percent of mobile phone subscriptions in Latin America are prepaid, according to the World Bank.

 

Unitec Blue is already manufacturing credit cards for Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. (MA) in Argentina and neighboring countries, while providing transport cards for regional governments in Brazil, according to Gainza Eurnekian. The company is providing chips and lamination for the SUBE transport card for the Buenos Aires metro, rail and bus network and is bidding for similar contracts in Brazil, he said.

 

The plant, which employs 155 people and took 10 months to build, will also produce solar energy panels and LED technology, a semiconductor light source. The project is being financed with Corporacion America’s cash.

 

“We’re financing it all ourselves, because the time it took us to build the plant, is how long it would have taken to negotiate a loan with banks,” Gainza Eurnekian said. “This is a high-risk project with a large investment and a need for quick returns to continue growing.”

 

 

6. IRAN SET UP TERRORIST NETWORKS IN LATIN AMERICA -ARGENTINE PROSECUTOR (Reuters News)

By Guido Nejamkis

29 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 29 (Reuters) – An Argentine prosecutor accused Iran on Wednesday of establishing terrorist networks in Latin America dating back to the 1980s and said he would send his findings to courts in the affected countries.

 

State prosecutor Alberto Nisman is investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. Argentine courts have long accused Iran of sponsoring the attack.

 

Iran, which remains locked in a stand-off with world powers over its disputed nuclear program, denies links to the blast. No one was immediately available to comment at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

 

In a 500-page-long document, Nisman cited what he said was evidence of Iran’s “intelligence and terrorist network” in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname – among others.

 

In the case of the AMIA (Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina) center bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina has secured Interpol arrest warrants for nine men – eight Iranians and one person presumed to be Lebanese. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is among the officials sought by Argentina, which is home to Latin America’s largest Jewish community.

 

Another Iranian with an outstanding arrest warrant against him in the case is Mohsen Rezaie, a former head of the Revolutionary Guards who is running for president.

 

Nisman said new evidence underscored the responsibility of Mohsen Rabbani, the former Iranian cultural attache in Argentina, as mastermind of the AMIA bombing and “coordinator of the Iranian infiltration of South America, especially in Guyana.”

 

Nisman said U.S. court documents showed Islamist militant Abdul Kadir – who was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for participating in a foiled plan to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York – was Rabbani’s disciple.

 

Kadir “received instructions” from Rabbani “and carried out the Iranian infiltration in Guyana, whose structure was nearly identical … to that established by Rabbani in Argentina,” the prosecutor wrote.

 

Nisman urged Interpol to intensify its efforts to execute the arrest warrants.

 

In February, Argentina’s Congress approved an agreement with Iran to set up a “truth commission” to shed light on the AMIA bombing after years of legal deadlock. But many Argentine Jewish community leaders feared the pact could undermine the ongoing judicial investigation, led by Nisman.

 

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has close ties with other Latin American leaders who are on good terms with Tehran, such as Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa.

 

Her government had no immediate comment on Nisman’s report, which reinforced concerns voiced by Jewish leaders in Buenos Aires about the Argentine-Iranian commission.

 

The forming of the commission was seen as a diplomatic win for Iran as it confronts a U.S.-led effort to isolate Tehran because of its nuclear program, which Western nations fear is aimed at attaining nuclear weapons.

 

Also on Wednesday, Canada said it will freeze all remaining trade with Iran to protest the Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and its human rights record.

 

7. ARGENTINA’S GOVERNMENT TRIMS PRICE CONTROLS TO 500 BASIC GOODS (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Shane Romig

29 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentine President Cristina Kirchner said Wednesday her government has reached an agreement with supermarket chains to reduce price controls to just 500 basic goods.

 

Ms. Kirchner has resorted to price controls since February in an unconventional bid to tame inflation that most private sector economists say is running more than double the 10.5% that the government reports.

 

Ms. Kirchner also launched a government-sponsored campaign to train thousands of people belonging to unions, activist groups and churches to police store prices.

 

“It’s not the government…nor the workers, nor the retirees, nor the students that raise prices. It’s the businessmen and merchants,” Ms. Kirchner said in a speech.

 

The agreement includes 1,000 stores across the country. It replaces a broader program that has been in place since early February, and that froze prices on most supermarket products.

 

The price-controlled items under the new accord include basic foods, cleaning and hygiene products, but also extend to some arguably less-essential goods such as blond hair dye, a number of wines and insecticides.

 

Inflation is widely thought to be running well above 20% as the central bank expands the money supply to finance the government. The benchmark M2 measure of the money supply expanded almost 36% on the year in April, according to the central bank.

 

Inflation has taken a toll on manufacturers, and spurred some Argentines to buy U.S. dollars or hard assets like cars to protect their savings.

 

The government has made it all but impossible for most people to legally buy dollars, which has given rise to a vibrant black market for the U.S. currency.

 

The black market dollar sold for 8.82 pesos Wednesday, while the regulated exchange rate weakened to ARS5.277 on the MAE foreign-exchange wholesale market.

 

8. CAPITAL ECONOMICS SEES ARGENTINA STAYING CLEAR OF RECESSION IN 2013 (Business News Americas)

29 May 2013

 

The Argentine economy is set to stay clear of entering into a recession this year due to a certain degree of improved economic activity last month, said Capital Economics in a report.

 

The macroeconomic research firm had made several predictions during last year and this year that Argentina would most likely fall into recession in 2013.

 

Capital Economics said that it has now nudged up this year’s GDP growth forecast for Argentina to 1.5% due to some improving economic signs in April.

 

The firm said that based on the available activity data for April, “our best guess” is that the economy is on course for a second quarter year-on-year expansion of 2.0-2.5% compared to 1.4% in the first quarter. These figures are based on Capital Economics’ own Argentina Activity Indicator as it – like the IMF and many other international and private sector observers – does not trust the official figures produced by Argentina’s national statistics agency (INDEC).

 

Capital Economics noted however that the recent recovery in Argentina has been confined to one or two sectors of the economy. “A rebound in agricultural output following last year’s drought was a key factor in the recent turn-around in Argentina’s fortunes. Indeed, had it not been for a weather-related improvement in crop production, we estimate that growth would have been just 0.5% y/y in Q1.”

 

The construction sector is also gradually recovering from a sharp downturn in the first half of 2012 and this has lifted the recent growth figures, said Capital Economics, while adding that “the latest cement production data, which serve as a good leading indicator for building activity, point to a return to growth in annual terms in Q2 for the first time in over a year.”

 

Capital Economics also pointed out that growth in Argentina remains slow by the standards of recent years and uneven in scope. “Indeed, the two biggest sectors of the economy – services and industry – are still struggling to gain momentum.”

 

The London-based firm earlier this month predicted that Latin America would see average GDP growth of 2.8% in 2013 and 3.2% in 2014 – well below the average growth rates of around 5.0% in 2010-11.

 

The Argentine economy saw a sharp slowdown in 2012 as GDP growth fell to 1.9% from 8.9% in the previous year, according to INDEC’s figures.

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JUECES SALVAJIZADOS

29 mayo, 2013

En un país sometido al fascismo desde 1930, la gente no advierte estar salvajizada. Esto incluye a miembros de los Tribunales en lo Contencioso Administrativo Federal, si leemos http://www.analisisdigital.com.ar/noticias.php?ed=1&di=0&no=184816 porque exhiben obsecuencia debida al Fuhrer, cuando rechazan un pedido para que el Estado Ladrón autorice al interesado a que compre los dólares que dice necesitar. La excusa infantil judicial es no haber probado algunos extremos judiciales, cosa innecesaria: nuestra Constitución permite comprar y vender libremente cualquier cosa lícita dentro de Argentina, y exportarla, o importarla. Salvo casos muy especiales, entre los que ciertamente el papel moneda extranjero  no está. A menos que seamos un país dominado por los nazis o fascistas o autoritarios, donde los ciudadanos deben pedir permiso al Amo de turno, y alli vemos que los jueces intervinientes en el caso – ignoro sus nombres – prefieren chupar las medias de la Presidenta, y tirar la pelota afuera, con tal de evitar explicar cual es el motivo verdadero por el cual algo licito constuticionalmente, puede ser pronibido porque la Presidenta da una orden al Banco Central, o porque dicho Banco se cree – vía incapaces directores y Presidenta del Banco – autorizado a impedir la compraventa de dólares.

INCULTURA MONETARIA SALVAJE

Es propio de los pueblos salvajes primitivos….bla, bla, bla, suponer que el dólar, un papel moneda verde y negro emitido en USA es algo prohibible de intercambiar, cual si fuese droga o veneno o explosivos en grandes cantidades, que requieren autorización medica o estatal. El dinero de papel es una cosa, una mercancía, si se quiere, la mercancía común por autonomasia, equivalente a un  “comodín” que sirve para intercambiar bienes y servicios lícitos. El papel moneda, si es legítimo, no es ilícito como objeto de libre intercambio, según la constitución argentina que todavía – formalmente – sigue vigente, pero que cada vez los Jueces se esfuerzan mas por impedir la libertad monetaria, porque está saliendo a la vista que el Estado Ladrón intenta convertirse en el dueño exclusivo del commodity peso argentino. Como puede ilimitadamente fabricarlo, en la medida que disponga de suficiente papel, tinta y maquinas impresoras, los argentinos hemos visto como vía inflación, se enriquece a costa de la gente.

JUECES BRUTOS O LADRONES

Imagino ningún Juez Argentino es tan ignorante, como para saber que el dólar no es una mercadería peligrosa. En todo caso, quien peligra es quien la tiene, ya que puede ser robado por el Estado Ladrón Argentino, y de hecho, lo vienen haciendo desde que Perón llegó a Presidente con los votos populares, publicitado por el Estado Fascista que decidió ponerlo como el “candidato” de los militares amigos del Eje, de Franco y los ex nazis. Y así nos fue, pero el relato todavía insiste en que Perón y Evita fueron buenos porque hicieron mucho bien. Como si hubieran repartido dinero propio, o hubieran inventado legislaciones socialistas creadas desde  antes en otros países. Algunas sensatas, otros países funcionaron. Pero aquí, como el objetivo fue populista – captar votos de ingenuos, que eran mas allá por el año 1946 – la emisión monetaria fue desprestigiando el pésimo gobierno peronista y sus pares – todavía existían algunos generales dignos – decidieron que se bajara de un puesto de Presidente que había demostrado no saber ejercer, y ante la negativa, surgió un golpe militar, llamado finalmente Revolución Libertadora. La inflación había llegado, para no irse mas, porque de a poco, cada nuevo Presidente advirtió que emisión monetaria es el impuesto que menos se nota lo está aplicando el Presidente de turno. Al comienzo, creo se decía era un flagelo, luego se inventó que era invento de los capitalistas extranjeros, también los judíos fueron acusados, pero lo cierto es que a la hora de robar desde el Estado, todos los que quisieron lo hicieron, siempre con anuencia oficial, en la medida que demostraran lealtad, e incluso se instituyó el Día de la Lealtad Popular (hacia el líder fascista mas piola, que tuvo la capacidad de retornar de su exilio  en la España de Franco, militarista, corrupta y antidemocrática.

CORTE SUPREMA DUDA

Si la mayoría de la actual Corte Suprema es kirchnerista (  Néstor la designó porque la anterior – menemista – había rechazado la pesificación de los dólares de propiedad de la Provincia de San Luis depositados con el Banco Nación. Debían ser devueltos en dólares. Y  las partes  acuordar una forma de devolver el Banco los dolares a su dueño, Pcia. de San Luis. Recordemos la famosa mentira de Duhalde – que de teoría monetaria entiende poco o es demasiado cínico – cuando dijo que al que depositó dolares se le devolverían dolares, cuando impuso su inconstitucional pesificación, votada por un Congreso Oficialista, que de moneda entiende poco, pero mucho la apetecía para los bolsillos de los congresistas. En el sospechable gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, una de las directoras del Banco Ciudad fue denunciada de haber cambiado la fecha en que extrajo sus fondos del Banco, y tuvo que renunciar, mas nadie le inició juicio penal por ese acto de primitivismo bandido.

La mayoría kirchnerista hoy en la Corte es la que debe decidir si nuevamente, la pesificación forzosa, o prohibición de comprar y vender dolar, o contratar utilizándolos como medio de establecer valores constantes a lo largo del tiempo, es algo lícito. O un hecho contrario a la moral y las buenas costumbres que constituye un delito penal. Pero el derecho penal no prohibe intercambiar commodities o monedas, ni usarlas como medio para calcular valores. Un contrato a termino de entregar mercaderías, tipo trigo o papas, es licito. Si versara sobre euros, dolares o cualquier otro dinero, sigue siendo actividad licita. Pero ojo: la Corte Suprema actual es la que declaró licita la pesificación, son los que firmaron, gente que mostraron su poca sensatez, o su exceso de obediencia debida al Fuhrer de turno, o su agradecimiento incondicional a quien los designó. Pero esta vez, todo es distinto que con Duhalde, y eso complica al Supremo oficialista – hasta ahora – Máximo Tribunal.

La convertibilidad se había creado por una Ley, que en cinco meses terminó con la hiperinflación=hipercorrupción del gobierno de Alfonsín. Hasta que Duhalde vía de Estado, tomó el Poder, hubo estabilidad monetaria, porque el peso convertible era el mismo dolar, disfrazado de moneda nacional, ya que existía en custodia siempre un dolar por cada peso convertible que podía emitir el garante y depositario Banco Central de la Republica Argentina. Como al valor del dolar lo controla la Reserva Federal de la Unión, nuestro Banco Central ya no tenía que cumplir con su obligación de mantener el valor de la moneda peso convertible disfrazado de dolar. Le quedaban al Central dos funciones: supervisar a las entidades financieras para que no hicieran actos violatorios a la ley, y su Vice Presidente, creo Christian Zimmerman, era el responsable de esa área, que incumplió, como se notó con las estafas pavorosas que el Estado Argentino tuvo que cancelar, porque Martinez de Hoz había logrado una disposición legal por la cual el Estado era responsable por todos los fondos depositados en Bancos o Financieras aprobadas. Y como existieron financieras destinadas a robar a la  gente, tal como se veía en el famoso film PLATA DULCE, la hiperinflación licuó el pasivo gigantesco del militarismo bandido y sus aliados, la clásica derecha que ama exprimir a los pobres en beneficio de ciertos industriales que producen bienes caros que solo funcionan porque el Estado los ayuda.

Hoy, la Corte Suprema no tiene una ley que prohiba comprar y vender dólares, de modo que se le hace jurídicamente mas difícil rechazar la demanda del señor que pide que el Estado le venda dolares al precio oficial. Una piolada jurídica, aprovechando que el Gobierno miente y roba con un dolar archi barato, el hábil litigante exige que el Estado lo incluya en su festín, es decir, que otro mas se sume a los piolas que se enriquecen a costa de los argentinos comunes. Y como la Moral y las Buenas Costumbres fueron perdidas por aquellos Supremos que dijeron que la pesificación duhaldista era constitucional, sentenciar en este caso, es difícil. Decir que el dolar no puede ser impedido de negociar por parte del Estado, es algo que entiendo Lorenzetti considerará un tema político que queda en manos del congreso y el Ejecutivo, y la justicia no debe entrometerse. Y los demás, lo seguirían, con lo cual el actor perdería su acción, y el Estado ladrón no tendría que compartir sus dolares con un demandante que se tiró el lance.

Si el tema fuese dejado al arbitraje de un tercero que no sea el Estado Ladrón, tipo una nación extranjera civilizada, la sentencia sería distinta a la que la Corte Suprema Argentina está ahora en libertad de pronunciar, mientras el cristinismo tenga el Poder. La actual Corte Suprema está jugada por su propia jurisprudencia donde el robo de la pesificación, era conforme a derecho, por razones de emergencia. Y con el cuento de la emergencia, los supremos disfrutan de un bienestar personal excesivo, para un país en vías de empobrecimiento tercermundista, donde los amigos del Poder se dicen exportan bolsas cargadas de billetes de 500 euros, por cuestiones de peso. Jueces que impiden libertad de intercambiar bienes y servicios, monedas extranjeras incluidas, demuestran ser apéndices del Amo, que hace lo que quiere, y les tira un hueso para que los Supremos disfruten, mientras los grandes bandidos siguen saqueando al país. Quizás son peores los supremos desde el cuarto piso de Tribunales haciéndose los dignos e independientes, mientras el Estado Ladrón esquilma al Pueblo, que Galtieri tomando whisky desde la Casa de Gobierno mientras los muchachos de ambos bandos que peleaban y morían como mártires, en Malvinas. Galtieri, al menos, tuvo una excusa demagógica, recuperar el territorio Malvinas, contra la voluntad de sus habitantes falklanders.

Los Supremos Cortesanos no tienen esa excusa. La Constitución se los impide, por mas que intenten cambiar su sentido, y si no lo hacen, prevaricarán, dando la razón a quien lo la tiene, el Amo del Estado Ladrón. La Corte necesita urgente que Cristina apruebe rápido en 3 semanas una ley diciendo que es licito pesificar, y que toda deuda contraída en dolares, es cancelarle en pesos oficiales. Así, los jueces tendrían una excusa para rechazar la acción del piola que pide le vendan dolares al cambio oficial.

Mas, si fuese cierto que hay miles de millones de los amigos de Cristina que necesitan ser blanqueados con Cedines, parece difícil que la “pesificación” que beneficiaría a la Corte Suprema pesificadora, será resistida por el entorno o mesa chica cristinista. Los bandidos no estarán dispuestos a depositar dolares para comprar Cedines, si al vencimiento, en tres años, el Estado Ladrón les pesifica los Certificados de Depósitos, y les entrega pesos al cambio oficial que es la mitad o la tercera parte del dolar real, el único que existe, el billete verde y negro, que cotiza en todos los lugares del planeta tierra.

Dicen que es mas difícil bajarse de un tigre, que montarlo. Igual pasa con los que aceptan cargos bien pagos que otorgan Poder, cuando su Amo bandido  y termina su mandato. Hace falta muchísimo dinero para escapar hoy en día a Interpol, si es que algunos jueces dignos deciden que varios actuales bandidos, algunos ex funcionarios, terminen entre rejas. Cuando existen gobiernos mafiosos, es porque la Justicia lo permite, de modo que la figura de Asociación ilícita desde el Estado existe, hay antecedentes aunque no se llamen exactamente así. El Juicio de Nuremberg terminó castigando con la pena de muerte a varios bandidos importantes nazis, otros fueron encarcelados, aunque demasiados se salvaron, pese a haber huido, en Argentina fascista recalaron varios, algunos fueron mandados de vuelta y castigados por la Ley.

Lo único que necesitamos es cuatro jueces supremos dignos, para que la Corte Suprema cumpla con su obligación de defendernos del Estado Ladrón, cuando viola derechos, incluso los elementales, como el poder comprar y vender dolares, y sacarlos del país, porque la Constitución no lo impide  y el Presidente y el gobierno están impedidos de prohibirlo.

 

 

ARGENTINE UPDATE – May 29, 2013

29 mayo, 2013

1. OP-ED: AN ARGENTINE DICTATOR’S LEGACY (The New York Times)

 

2. ARGENTINE DEBT SPURS U.S. LEGAL DRAMA  (Los Angeles Times)

 

3. HUGE CROWD CELEBRATES ‘VICTORIOUS DECADE’ OF PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ AND HER LATE HUSBAND (The Washington Post)

 

4. CHILE AND ARGENTINA ISSUE RED ALERT OVER COPAHUE VOLCANO, EVACUATION TO START SOON (The Washington Post)

 

5. YPF SLUMPS AS RULING PORTENDS COMPENSATION: BUENOS AIRES MOVER (Bloomberg News)

 

6. PETROBRAS ARGENTINE ASSETS SALE FAILS AS BIDS MISS EXPECTATIONS (Bloomberg News)

 

7. CITIBANK ASKS U.S. COURT FOR ARGENTINA BOND-PAYMENT ASSURANCES (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

8. RATING AGENCIES ALERT TO ARGENTINA DEBT RULING, SOURING ECONOMY (Reuters News)

 

9. CHILE, ARGENTINA ORDER EVACUATION AROUND STIRRING SOUTHERN VOLCANO (Reuters News)

 

10. ARGENTINA PESO SEEN DEVALUING ON TIGHTER DOLLAR CONTROLS  (Market News International)

 

11. ECONOMY: POVERTY DOWN IN ARGENTINA – BUT BY HOW MUCH? (Inter Press Service)

 

12. GOOGLE TO STOP PAYING ARGENTINE APP DEVELOPERS (Business News Americas)

 

13. ARGENTINA’S YPF LOSES INTERNATIONAL RULING IN GAS-EXPORTS CASE (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

14. PETROBRAS DECIDES NOT TO SELL SOME ASSETS IN ARGENTINA (Platts Commodity News)

 

15. PETROBRAS SAYS IT HAS REJECTED OFFERS FOR ARGENTINE ASSETS (Reuters News)

 

16. EU IMPOSES DUTIES ON ARGENTINE, INDONESIAN BIODIESEL (Reuters News)

 

17. FIXED BROADBAND CONNECTIONS IN ARGENTINA REACHED 5.92MN AT END-2012, CISCO SAYS (Business News Americas)

 

1. OP-ED: AN ARGENTINE DICTATOR’S LEGACY (The New York Times)

By Federico Finchelstein

28 May 2013

 

Jorge Rafael Videla, leader of Argentina’s dictatorial junta from 1976 to 1981, died in prison on May 17, but his historical legacy is far from settled.

 

Although in his day he was lionized by some Cold War warriors as a savior of his nation, his crimes are no longer in question, and many young Argentines who never lived under his murderous grip regard him as a symbol of evil. The debate that persists is whether he in fact waged a ”dirty war,” implying two sides, or whether, as many professional historians agree, he simply unleashed state-sponsored terrorism.

 

Under the junta’s rule, even a five-year-old knew his name. That was my case: As far as I can remember, I never heard political discussions in the middle-class Argentine Jewish home in which I was raised, but I knew who he was.

 

Videla was a spectral figure with his gravelly voice, stern look and mustache. My parents later told me that they had considered it too dangerous to discuss the junta in the presence of a child. They knew too many people who had disappeared.

 

Like many other Argentines, I am still trying to come to terms with the crimes against humanity committed under Videla’s rule — the disappearances, the concentration camps, the citizens tortured, drugged and then thrown into the Atlantic from military planes. Official estimates range from 10,000 to 15,000 murder victims. [ A factual number!] There was also the theft of babies born to illegally detained mothers. One of the reasons I became a historian was because I wanted to understand how the so-called dirty war could have become a reality in a modern nation with a strong, progressive civil society.

 

Today Argentina once again has a strong civil society, an electoral democracy and a dynamic political culture with no place for the military in politics. The country has moved beyond Videla’s efforts at ”reconciliation”; it is clear from the reactions to his death that in Argentina almost nobody buys Videla’s idea that the military were saviors of the nation.

 

But a recent shift in the perception of Videla’s legacy poses new challenges to Argentina’s efforts to come to terms with its violent past. The current Peronist administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner regularly — and in most cases implausibly — accuses opponents of having been associated with the dictatorship, or, if they are too young, wishing for its return. The dictatorship has thus become an ultimate political insult, a populist means of political polarization. Equally problematic from a historical standpoint are the efforts by the Kirchner administrations to present the victims as heroes.

 

In effect, this marks a shift from a legal perception of perpetrators and victims under the junta, to a moral one of a ”war” between heroes and villains. This is exactly how Videla wanted to be remembered — as a warrior in a violent political contest.

 

President Kirchner and her husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, see themselves on the other side of this war, as warriors against absolute evil, though neither played any visible role in the resistance to the dictatorship. Thus history as populist melodrama presents a vision of past victims as protosupporters of current politics.

 

Such efforts to emphasize the political identities of the victims as the main reason for their victimization retroactively places the crimes of the state within the political sphere. Yet these crimes were outside politics — the ”dirty war” was state-sponsored terrorism, not a struggle between different political visions. Videla’s deeds belong to the history of the fascist genealogies of Argentina for which he wrote the last chapter.

 

Federico Finchelstein is associate professor of history and director of the Janey Program in Latin American Studies at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York. He is the author of the forthcoming ”The Ideological Origins of the Dirty War.”

 

2. ARGENTINE DEBT SPURS U.S. LEGAL DRAMA  (Los Angeles Times)

By Ken Bensinger

28 May 2013

 

A case pitting the nation against Wall Street creditors could have a global impact.

 

Collection agencies profit by buying up old debt, chasing borrowers for payment and, when all else fails, using the courts to recover as much as they can.

 

It’s a business model polished and perfected over decades of litigation. But what if the deadbeat is a sovereign nation of 40 million people whose fiery president has sworn never to pay?

 

That question now faces the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which has become an unlikely referee in a high-stakes grudge match pitting Wall Street investors against Argentina.

 

At its heart, the case tests the power of U.S. courts to force other countries to honor their debts. The outcome could hinder the ability of other struggling nations — including Greece and Cyprus — to renegotiate their commitments, potentially saddling them with crushing obligations they can’t escape.

 

In the button-down world of international finance, the proceedings have been nothing short of a barnburner. Each side has hired celebrity lawyers, traded insults and engaged in some bare-knuckle tactics, including the attempted seizure of an Argentine naval frigate by bondholders.

 

Now years of squabbling may be reaching a boiling point: A crucial ruling is expected as early as this week.

 

“The implications are huge,” economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz said. “This court is balancing the interests of very small groups of creditors against those of entire countries.”

 

Though little-known in the U.S., the case is a cause celebre in Argentina, where the long battle has taken an economic toll on the nation.

 

At issue is nearly $100 billion in debt that Argentina defaulted on in early 2002 after a prolonged recession and a currency crisis. It was the largest sovereign default in history.

 

The nation eventually was able to restructure more than 92% of that debt by persuading investors to exchange old bonds for new ones worth about two-thirds less. Bolstered by an economic boom in recent years, Argentina has kept current on the new obligations to what are called the exchange bondholders.

 

But much of the remaining debt was snapped up at a discount by bargain-hunting investors, who took Argentina to court and demanded full value.

 

Leading the charge was New York hedge fund Elliott Associates, which has found a lucrative niche forcing debtor nations through litigation to pay up. The firm has won huge judgments against Peru, the Republic of the Congo and other poor countries. In the developing world, such investors are dubbed vulture funds.

 

Elliott says Argentina is a bad actor with enough cash to fork over the roughly $1.4 billion it owes the fund and several other plaintiffs.

 

Elliott has made numerous attempts to help collect the debt by seizing Argentine assets, most notably a 340-foot ship, Libertad, held at port in Ghana for two months last year.

 

But Argentina proved a tenacious foe. Through a United Nations tribunal, it persuaded Ghana to release the ship. Still, the close call prompted President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to travel in a rented jet, leaving her presidential plane out of Elliott’s reach.

 

Frustrated after half a decade of litigation, Elliott and other holdouts tried a novel legal strategy. They argued that under a provision of its debt contracts, Argentina could no longer make payments to the bondholders who had settled unless it also paid the holdouts.

 

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa agreed. In November, the appeals court upheld the ruling and is now considering how to force payment and how much the holdouts should receive. Experts said the court could oblige Argentina to pay in full, match the deal it gave the exchange bondholders or offer something in between.

 

The appellate judges also are weighing whether to uphold an injunction Griesa put on Argentina’s bank, Bank of New York Mellon, that bars it from paying exchange bondholders unless holdouts also are paid. If that’s upheld, Argentina will be required to fork over something or be held in contempt.

 

The case is “an important test of the rule of law,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Ted Olson, best known for representing George W. Bush in the legal challenge to the Florida vote in the 2000 election.

 

“Argentina believes that, no matter what its contracts say, no matter that it has more than enough to pay all of its obligations, it can simply dictate terms to its creditors,” said Olson, who became U.S. solicitor general under Bush.

 

Fernandez de Kirchner has blasted the rulings, mocked the judges and called the holdouts pirates who have no respect for sovereign rights. She noted that a 2005 Argentine law prohibits giving holdouts a better deal than those who settled.

 

That has the exchange bondholders nervous that Argentina might elect to pay nobody rather than making the holdouts whole. They have hired high-powered litigator David Boies, who was Al Gore’s counsel in the 2000 Bush vs. Gore case.

 

Global anti-poverty groups are also worried. They fear that if the court allows the holdouts to get more than the exchange bondholders it will create a powerful incentive for bondholders to refuse to negotiate when the next sovereign default arises.

 

That could make it hard for nations facing economic crises to escape crushing debt loads, said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, an anti-poverty group that advocates sovereign debt cancellation. Unable to restructure debt, these countries would be required to use money otherwise dedicated for social services, education or public health to pay bondholders.

 

“Any precedent set here goes way beyond Argentina,” said LeCompte, noting that lawsuits mimicking Elliott’s tactic have been filed against other countries in recent months. “This will likely have the most far-reaching impact on global poverty of any ruling in our lifetime.”

 

That opinion is shared by some influential observers, including the U.S. Justice Department. It filed a brief arguing that the ruling “threatens core U.S. policy regarding international debt restructuring.”

 

Others contend that a more worrisome precedent could be set if the court doesn’t force Argentina to pay the holdouts. That could damage the U.S. legal system’s credibility and embolden other nations to shortchange investors, said Hans Humes, head of hedge fund Greylock Capital Management and former co-chair of an Argentine creditors committee.

 

“This is really a worst-case scenario,” he said.

 

Many speculate that Argentina may simply find a way to pay exchange bondholders outside the U.S., without a dime going to the holdouts. While critics of hedge funds might like to see Elliott thwarted, legal scholars say it’s a slippery slope.

 

“If Argentina doesn’t pay, nobody wins,” said Anna Gelpern, a law professor at American University who has written extensively about the case.

 

In Argentina, Libertad’s return to port was celebrated as a victory, and buitre, or vulture, has entered the popular lexicon.

 

But the nation is hurting from the battle. Cut off from international credit markets, Argentina has become a financial pariah — unable to borrow and forced to print pesos, fueling inflation.

 

Desperate for U.S. dollars it needs for trade and other obligations, the government has put strict limits on residents’ purchases of foreign currency. That has created a black market in which the dollar’s street price is now nearly double the official rate.

 

To fight inflation, many Argentines travel to neighboring Uruguay to take out dollar advances from ATMs on credit cards, while others have been buying the digital currency Bitcoins.

 

“It’s all connected to the unresolved debt problem,” said Matias Tombolini, an economist at the University of Buenos Aires. “The public is suffering from something it cannot control.”

 

No matter the outcome of the appeal, a petition to the Supreme Court is likely.

 

Many believe the case has helped focus attention on the shortcomings of the international sovereign debt system.

 

“We’ve created a totally dysfunctional sovereign debt market,” Stiglitz said. “Whether or not you like what Argentina has done, this is a question of equity.”

 

3. HUGE CROWD CELEBRATES ‘VICTORIOUS DECADE’ OF PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ AND HER LATE HUSBAND (The Washington Post)

By Damian Pachter

May 26, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez rallied a huge crowd Saturday night celebrating the 10-year government that she and her late husband Nestor Kirchner began in 2003. Her voice breaking, she called it a victorious decade, “won not by a government but by the people.”

 

This year’s election will determine whether Fernandez has enough votes in congress to undo constitutional term limits and extend her rule beyond 2015. But she suggested Saturday night that she won’t try. She said “I’m not eternal, nor do I want to be.”

 

Putting human rights violators on trial and pushing to put more of Argentina’s wealth in the hands of its poorest people will continue to be the pillars of this government, she said. “Equality is the grand symbol of this decade and of those to come,” she vowed.

 

Her opponents took aim at the “decade won” theme, noting that the years of strong economic growth have ended, and saying that if this is what victory looks like, Argentina is in big trouble.

 

Whether the Kirchners’ decade will be remembered for its historic achievements or its missed opportunities depends on whom you talk with in Argentina, where society is bitterly divided over their legacy.

 

Analysts consulted by The Associated Press said they deserve credit for fostering 7 percent average growth and restoring power to the presidency. Kirchner was inaugurated on May 25, 2003 at a chaotic time; the country was still suffering from its 2001 crisis, and poverty was extreme.

 

The Kirchners began an era of social inclusion, external debt reduction and state intervention that was the exact opposite of the privatization binge and anything-goes capitalism that characterized Argentina in the 1990s.

 

Ten years later and going it alone after her husband died of a heart attack, Fernandez has intensified her government’s control over the economy and diverted billions of dollars more to subsidizing the poor.

 

“This is an extraordinarily significant decade in Argentine history,” said philosopher Ricardo Forster, a supporter. The transformations have managed to enrich the social, cultural, political and economic life.”

 

But Fernandez’s approval ratings have dropped sharply recently amid rising inflation and crime, corruption allegations involving top appointees and allied businessmen; increasingly heavy-handed economic controls; and efforts to transform the justice system. Critics say the real goal is eliminating challengers to presidential power.

 

“This decade represents a tremendous missed opportunity, which you can see by looking at what other countries in the region have done with similar possibilities and limitations,” said sociologist and attorney Roberto Gargarella, a government critic.

 

Thousands of citizens have joined a series of pot-banging protests in recent months, and the crowd gathering in the Plaza de Mayo to hear Fernandez speak Saturday night was intended to provide a powerful counterpoint. Hundreds of thousands of people were bused in by the “organized and united” network of pro-government groups, and their flags and huge TV screens were installed in nearby streets.

 

“This is the government I always dreamed of and fought for in the 1970s,” said Paloma Perez Galdos, a 58-year-old bank worker. “It’s time that we have a justice system for everyone, not just for the rich.”

 

“Social inclusion” under the Kirchners has involved providing billions of dollars in cash welfare payments families with children and people working in the informal economy. The government has raised pensions and minimum wages, and directed vast amounts of government revenue to keep the economy moving.

 

“Unemployment has gone from 25 percent to 7 percent ten years later … in an economy that grew as fast as China,” said Ramiro Castineira, an economic analyst with the Econometrica firm.

 

Castineira and Gargarella disagree on many aspects of the Kirchners’ legacy, but they both say intervening in the government statistics service in 2007 was a critical mistake. Ever since, official annual inflation has refused to budge over 10 percent, even as Argentine shoppers watch prices double and triple each year. Many other statistics based on consumer prices have become widely disregarded.

 

“All the numbers on unemployment, poverty, inflation and inequality are falsified,” Gargarella said.

 

“Misrepresenting the numbers was a strong blow to market confidence; that raised the country risk and made it impossible for Argentina to take on foreign debt. That’s why the government turned to expanding the money supply,” Castineira agreed.

 

Since 2008, the government has sought to capture more of the windfall profits from soy exports. But that alone couldn’t finance the spending, so it printed more money and changed currency and tax rules forcing businesses to keep profits inside Argentina. That dissuaded investors, spurred capital flight and pushed annual inflation to as much 30 percent right now, private analysts say.

 

Economic instability now threatens to undo much of what the Kirchners accomplished.

 

“Today it’s clear that Argentina, under the leadership of the Kirchners, has not known how to take advantage of the opportunity that this first decade of the 21st century has represented for Latin America, which is the strongest growth in two centuries of history,” political analyst Rosendo Fraga said. “Instead of taking the path of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay, it’s taking that of Venezuela.”

4. CHILE AND ARGENTINA ISSUE RED ALERT OVER COPAHUE VOLCANO, EVACUATION TO START SOON (The Washington Post)

By Eva Vergara in Santiago and Michael Warren and Debora Rey in Buenos Aires

May 27, 2013

 

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chilean and Argentine officials issued a red alert Monday for the increasingly active Copahue volcano bordering the two countries and ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people.

 

Chilean Interior and Security Minister Andres Chadwick said the increased activity could lead to an eruption and officials would soon begin evacuating 2,240 people, or 460 families, within a 25-kilometer (15.5-mile) radius.

 

“This evacuation is obligatory; it’s not voluntary,” Chadwick told reporters.

 

Chile’s Emergency Office said the evacuation could last about 48 hours, but could be delayed because of heavy rains.

 

The nearly 10,000-foot (2,965-meter) sits in the Andes cordillera, overlapping Chile’s Bio Bio region and Argentina’s Neuquen province.

 

Argentine officials raised their alert level to red Monday afternoon due to higher seismic activity and ordered the evacuation of about 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighboring city of Loncopue.

 

“The volcano is not erupting yet, but as a preventive measure we’ve decided to evacuate the population,” the Neuquen Crisis Committee said.

 

“There are no ashes in Caviahue. The vapor plume has descended, but in the last days, seismic activity has increased. That’s the reason behind the change of alert in Argentina and Chile.”

 

Copahue registered high seismic activity in December when its ash cloud billowed almost a mile (1.5 kilometers) high.

 

The volcano had a major eruption in 1992, according to the Chilean Mining Ministry’s Sernageomin geology unit. It became highly active with blasts and gases in 2002, in its strongest activity in more than 20 years.

 

Chile has more than 3,000 volcanoes the Andes and about 500 of them remain active.

 

 

5. YPF SLUMPS AS RULING PORTENDS COMPENSATION: BUENOS AIRES MOVER (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez

May 27, 2013

 

YPF SA, the oil company seized by Argentina’s government last year, fell the most among the country’s major stocks after losing an arbitration case that may cost it as much as $1.6 billion in indemnity payments.

 

The shares dropped 3.6 percent to 114.70 pesos at 4:59 p.m. in Buenos Aires, the steepest decline among 15 global peers tracked by Bloomberg. The Merval index gained 0.6 percent.

 

The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration found YPF responsible for rescinding on gas-export contracts in 2009 with AES Corp. (AES)’s Brazilian unit based in Uruguiana and Techint Group and Total SA (FP) unit TGM, YPF said in a note sent to the regulator after the close of trading May 24.

 

“The ruling is a black cloud on the company’s horizon and triggered the share price fall,” Carlos Aszpis, an equity strategist at Schweber & Cia. Sociedad de Bolsa SA, said by telephone from Buenos Aires.

 

Damages could be determined in a separate ruling by the same tribunal, the company said. In 2009, YPF was notified of claims by AES for damages totaling $1 billion while TGM sought $17 million in damages and $366 million in lost profit, according to a YPF filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.

 

Including past due interest, the amount would be $1.6 billion, Aszpis said.

 

The company, based in Buenos Aires, said it would analyze the arbitration ruling and energetically defend shareholders’ interests. Alejandro Di Lazzaro, a YPF spokesman, declined to comment further when contacted by telephone today.

 

Spain’s Repsol SA (REP) is seeking $10.5 billion in compensation from Argentina for the April 2012 nationalization of YPF. Under the previous management, YPF said it was the government not the company that was responsible for stopping gas deliveries.

 

6. PETROBRAS ARGENTINE ASSETS SALE FAILS AS BIDS MISS EXPECTATIONS (Bloomberg News)

By Rodrigo Orihuela

May 26, 2013

 

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the most indebted publicly-traded oil company, rejected all offers for its Argentine assets after at least four months of talks as it seeks to raise $9.9 billion through sales and cost cuts.

 

“The executive board analyzed today the results of the negotiations for these assets and decided not to approve their sale under the offers that have been received,” Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras said in a May 24 regulatory filing after markets closed in Sao Paulo, without offering further details. Petrobras had been receiving offers since at least January. Argentina’s Grupo Indalo was among the bidders.

 

Petrobras is seeking to raise funds for a $237 billion five-year business plan, with 62 percent of the funds earmarked for exploration and production as it taps offshore reserves constituting the world’s largest discovery this century. The company this month issued $11 billion in bonds to help finance the program in the largest-ever emerging markets issuance.

 

Petrobras Argentina SA, as the Argentine unit is called, is state-controlled Petrobras’s only publicly-listed unit. About 33 percent of the unit, acquired in 2002 from the Perez Companc family, is listed in Buenos Aires and also trades in New York through American Depositary Receipts. The company produces oil and gas in Argentina, refines fuels and has gasoline stations.

 

Cost-Cutting Plan

Petrobras this year scaled back its divestiture and cost-cutting plan from an original $14.8 billion target because the company had no experience as an asset seller and overestimated demand, Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Silva Foster said March 15.

 

Earlier in the year Petrobras took out $7 billion in bank loans, which puts total debt raised this year at $18 billion.

 

On May 24, Petrobras announced the sale of a 12 percent stake in the off-shore Block 6 in Tanzania to Statoil ASA (STL) for an undisclosed amount. Petrobras will continue to operate the block and will hold a 38 percent stake. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) will hold the remainder.

 

Petrobras has also sold assets in the Gulf of Mexico and Benin this year.

 

7. CITIBANK ASKS U.S. COURT FOR ARGENTINA BOND-PAYMENT ASSURANCES (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Ken Parks

24 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Citibank has asked a U.S. district court to confirm that its Argentine banking unit isn’t bound by a ruling that bars the Argentine government from making payments on bonds it issued under New York law.

 

Despite a previous ruling to that effect, Citibank is once more seeking assurances that payments made on Argentine law bonds held in custody at Citibank Argentina are beyond the reach of any restraining order issued by the U.S. court.

 

Citibank Argentina could be exposed to “possible criminal risk for obeying a court order not recognized as valid in Argentina” if the court’s ruling were interpreted as applying to Argentine bonds paid in that country, Citibank said in a court filing this week.

 

“It would be unthinkable that a U.S. judge could tell an Argentine banking entity, regulated under Argentine law and under the control of the central bank, that it could or couldn’t comply with the obligations it has to its clients,” Argentina’s Finance Secretary Adrian Cosentino said in a statement.

 

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has pledged to keep paying some creditors regardless of how U.S. courts rule in a case that pits her government against hedge funds led by Aurelius Capital Management and Elliott Management Corp. unit NML Capital Ltd. Citibank isn’t a party to that litigation.

 

The landmark case might not only determine whether investors who own billions of dollars of Argentina’s performing bonds get paid, but could also be seen as a precedent for sovereign restructurings around the world.

 

The Kirchner administration’s insistence that it will pay its current New York law bonds has fueled speculation that it might try to shift payments to Argentina if it loses the case.

 

Under that scenario, it’s not clear how the Argentine government and the banks that process its bond payments in the U.S. could engineer a payment mechanism without being declared in contempt of court.

 

District Court Judge Thomas Griesa has barred Argentina from paying its New York law bonds unless it also pays more than $1.3 billion in court awards the hedge funds have won after a decade of litigation. His ruling has been suspended until the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the matter.

 

The funds are seeking full repayment on bonds that Argentina stopped paying when it defaulted on $100 billion of debt in 2001.

 

The funds are collectively known as holdouts due to their refusal to accept new bonds issued by Argentina in heavily discounted debt exchanges in 2005 and 2010. So far, Argentina has restructured about 93% of its defaulted debt.

 

It’s now up to a three-judge panel to decide whether Argentina’s proposal to offer holdouts a deal similar to the 2010 restructuring complies with Mr. Griesa’s ruling that holdouts be treated the same as investors who accepted new bonds. The holdouts have rejected Argentina’s latest offer.

 

A spokesman for NML Capital declined to comment.

8. RATING AGENCIES ALERT TO ARGENTINA DEBT RULING, SOURING ECONOMY (Reuters News)

By Hilary Burke

24 May 2013

 

* Uncertainty reigns over outcome of U.S. court battle

* Economy slowed sharply, distortions increasing-analysts

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 24 (Reuters) – Argentina’s dismal credit ratings might get a boost if U.S. courts rule in the country’s favor in a long-running dispute with creditors over a 2002 default, but rating agency analysts say weak economic conditions could hinder any positive outcome.

 

Argentina has not tapped global credit markets since it defaulted on roughly $100 billion in sovereign debt 11 years ago, mainly because of lawsuits by “holdout” creditors who rejected debt swaps and sought full repayment despite acceptance by nearly 93 percent of other bondholders.

 

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with the court case because this is uncharted territory,” Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Joydeep Mukherji told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit this week.

 

The credit ratings on Latin America’s No. 3 economy are deep in junk bond territory. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings cut some of Argentina’s ratings further after two U.S. courts ruled against the country late last year.

 

One judge ordered Argentina to pay holdouts the full $1.33 billion owed them the next time it serviced restructured debt. Argentina appealed, and a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected in the coming weeks.

 

Investors are following the case closely because Argentina appears willing to enter into technical default in order to avoid paying the holdouts any more than what other creditors received in the 2005 and 2010 restructurings.

 

S&P has kept Argentina’s sovereign credit rating at B-minus with a negative outlook, despite the legal risks.

 

“To go one step further to the C category, for our own debt criteria, that would be making a very strong statement saying we think they’re going to lose the court case and we think that there’s no escape valve,” Mukherji said. “We feel that we’ve signaled enough to the market what the dangers are and with a B-minus negative we’re saying, we’re right at the edge here.”

 

If the court case goes against Argentina, that could push the rating into either selective default or default.

 

If Argentina ends up winning a favorable ruling, however, the S&P analyst said he still could not guarantee the agency would improve the negative rating outlook since abrupt policy changes make the country such a “fast-moving story.”

 

Moody’s senior credit officer, Mauro Leos – speaking at the summit held in Reuters’ New York office – had a similar perspective.

 

In March, Moody’s cut the credit rating on Argentine sovereign debt governed by foreign law to Caa1, reflecting the risk that a final court ruling would result in some delay or loss to holders of restructured foreign-law debt. It affirmed Argentina’s B3 issuer rating, which applies to bonds issued under local law.

 

Leos said a court ruling that favors Argentina and averts any payment problems on the restructured debt would likely put the rating on foreign-law bonds back to B3.

 

“That would be a purely technical decision. What is more important is the fundamentals,” Leos said, citing concerns over increased state intervention and economic distortions.

 

Argentine officials often assail rating agencies and the economy minister has accused them of issuing “terrorist reports” to scare investors and benefit speculators.

 

SLOWING ECONOMY

 

Argentina’s economy has slowed sharply in the past year after booming during most of the last decade. Most economists blame soft global demand, high inflation and the negative impact of currency and trade controls on investment.

 

Fitch slashed Argentina’s long-term foreign currency debt rating to CC from B in November, reflecting its view that a default was likely due to the U.S. court rulings. It also noted that a missed payment on the New York-law bonds could trigger a “cross default” on all foreign-law restructured debt.

 

At the same time, Fitch cut the local currency rating to B-minus from B and placed it on a negative outlook.

 

Sovereign analyst Shelly Shetty said Fitch would raise its foreign currency rating if Argentina won the court case, but it would also take deteriorating economic conditions into account.

 

With no access to capital markets and sharply slowing economic growth, Argentina faces more fiscal pressure. But if it leans more on the central bank for financing, that will worsen inflation, which is already seen topping 20 percent a year.

 

“There’s not only a very difficult and challenging economic environment, but also a very feeble economic recovery,” Shetty told the summit on Friday, saying nonetheless Argentina still has enough international reserves to keep paying its debts.

 

9. CHILE, ARGENTINA ORDER EVACUATION AROUND STIRRING SOUTHERN VOLCANO (Reuters News)

27 May 2013

 

* Copahue volcano located roughly 500 km south of Santiago

* Roughly 2,240 to be evacuated in Chile, authorities say

 

SANTIAGO/BUENOS AIRES, May 27 (Reuters) – Chilean and Argentine authorities on Monday declared a red alert and ordered the mandatory evacuation of a 25-km (15.5-mile) radius around the active Copahue volcano, which straddles the border between the two Andean nations.

 

The volcano – located some 500 km (310 miles) south of capital Santiago, between Chile’s Bio Bio region and Argentina’s Neuquen province – has seen increasing seismic activity in recent weeks but has not erupted, Chilean authorities said.

 

“This doesn’t necessarily mean the volcano will start erupting. But according to the Sernageomin (National Geological and Mining Service), the volcano is now in a process that could culminate in an eruption, for that reason we’ve issued a red alert and the evacuation,” Chilean Interior Minister Andres Chadwick told a nationally televised news conference.

 

Authorities estimated that some 2,240 people will be evacuated in Chile.

 

In Argentina’s Neuquen province, authorities also declared a “red alert,” and ordered the evacuation of some 900 people in tourist-haven Caviahue-Copahue. The Argentine municipality had previously ordered the cancellation of school classes.

 

Close to the Chilean side of the volcano, in Bio Bio region, power generator Endesa Chile operates the Ralco and Pangue hydroelectric dams, which have not been affected by the evacuation order.

 

Endesa Chile is monitoring the situation, a company source told Reuters. Water levels at the dams are at technical lows, which would avoid the possible need to open the floodgates, and the dams’ walls are designed to withstand earthquakes, the source said.

 

In mid-2011, ash from a volcano in Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain that erupted after decades of lying dormant forced the sporadic cancellation of hundreds of flights, especially in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay.

 

10. ARGENTINA PESO SEEN DEVALUING ON TIGHTER DOLLAR CONTROLS  (Market News International)

By Charles Newbery

27 May 2013

 

Argentina’s peso likely will gain on the black market this week after authorities tightened controls on withdrawing dollars from Argentine bank accounts at overseas ATMs.

 

The central bank set the limit at $100 a quarter in neighboring countries and $800 a month elsewhere in a bid to stem capital flight as people buy dollars and remove them from the financial system on concerns of a worsening economy, currency depreciation and high inflation.

 

Estimates suggest the pace of such withdrawals would have reached $1 billion this year, up from an annual average of $25 million in recent years.

 

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner started trying to contain capital flight five days after entering her second four-year term in October 2011 after the amount more than doubled that year. She has gradually tightened the controls, even making it illegal to buy dollars for savings.

 

Her administration is trying to safeguard the country’s hard-currency reserves for financing the state and paying the national debt. Argentina has yet to regain access to international financial markets, given that about $20 billion is still in arrears from a $100 billion default in 2001 and creditors could seize the proceeds of a bond sale.

 

With a midterm congressional election coming Oct. 27, CFK appears to have opted to try to sustain central bank reserves with the restrictions on buying dollars, prompting people to turn to the black market. The rising demand pushed up the so-called blue rate 54% to a high of 10.45 to the dollar May 8 – a nearly 100% gap with the official rate of 5.26 – from 6.80 at the start of the year.

 

Her administration then managed to cut the rate to 8.43 per dollar May 22 by announcing plans for a tax amnesty, offloading dollar-denominated government bonds and raising interest rates to increase the amount of dollars in the system.

 

CFK is seeking congressional approval for the amnesty, which would allow people to put undeclared money into the financial system without tax penalties. The government estimates these undeclared funds total $160 billion, or four-times the central bank reserves.

 

The funds brought in through the amnesty would go to the central bank in exchange for bonds, helping to rebuild reserves which have sunk to $38.8 billion from a record of nearly $53 billion in early 2011.

 

People are still nervous. With the new restrictions on foreign ATM withdrawals, people turned to the black market again, pushing up the rate to 8.80 May 24, and some traders say it could hit 10.

 

The government also plans to launch an effort to unleash die-hard supporters such as from the La Campora youth movement to control prices at supermarkets with the aim of limiting inflation ahead of the congressional election. The government put caps on 500 products in February, helping to contain inflation at around 25% a year.

 

The control plan has raised criticism, with opposition politicians saying the state should do such monitoring as well as consumer rights groups and civil society organizations, not zealous youth supporters.

 

Government supporters, however, say the campaign will discourage retailers and their suppliers from jacking up prices to achieve what they say are excessive profits.

 

11. ECONOMY: POVERTY DOWN IN ARGENTINA – BUT BY HOW MUCH? (Inter Press Service)

By Marcela Valente

27 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 27, 2013 (IPS/GIN) – In the 10 years since late president Néstor Kirchner, who was succeeded by his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007, first took office in Argentina, poverty has fallen, employment has climbed and educational coverage has expanded, although there is no agreement on the exact statistics.

 

Just how much poverty has been reduced is in dispute. But in any case the poverty level has gone down in the past decade of Kirchner governments, say experts and activists who talked to IPS.

 

“We are closer than ever to zero hunger, although there are still malnourished kids,” said the leader and founder of the Red Solidaria (Solidarity Network), Juan Carr.

 

Hunger, floods, extreme cold, epidemics, the need for an urgent transplant are some of the social problems addressed by the Red Solidaria, an NGO that has a network of volunteers around the country.

 

“Poverty makes people in Argentina feel indignant,” Carr said. “But this attitude is a new thing, since about 15 years ago. That wasn’t true before. Only the most progressive people were concerned about poverty. Today everyone is. But the way some people look at it is a little immature. Many get angry.”

 

In his interview with IPS, Carr was careful to steer clear of the heated dispute between spokespersons of the centre-left Fernández administration and the opposition on whether or not the poverty rate is going down. In his view, the statistics are neither as good nor as bad as the two sides would have people think.

 

The poverty rate in Argentina had soared to 54 percent in late 2001, when the severe economic crisis triggered massive street protests. A brutal police crackdown on the protests left dozens of demonstrators dead and injured, prompting then president Fernando de la Rúa to step down.

 

Kirchner, who died in October 2010 at the age of 60, became president on May 25, 2003 after a series of caretaker presidents, and since then the poverty rate has steadily fallen.

 

According to the latest figure released by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INDEC), from late 2012, 5.4 percent of Argentina’s 40 million people are poor.

 

But the opposition and some experts have called INDEC’s figures into question since the executive branch increased its involvement in the statistics body in 2007. They argue that INDEC’s numbers are based on an artificially low estimate of the cost of the basic food basket, which purportedly does not take into account the real inflation rate.

 

For example, studies presented by the private Catholic University of Argentina put the poverty rate at almost 27 percent.

 

Statistics on unemployment also vary. According to official figures, it plunged from 24 percent in 2002 to 16.3 percent in 2003, and to 7.9 percent today.

 

But these numbers are also questioned.

 

Carr said he believes the real poverty rate is “somewhere in the middle.”

 

“It doesn’t seem to affect 30 percent, but not just five percent either. I think a reasonable assumption would be that one out of five people in Argentina are still poor,” he said.

 

With respect to the fight against poverty, the activist mentioned “two glorious moments” in the last decade.

 

One was in 2003, when agriculture began to recover and the government had “very good” social policies. “Food started to really be produced on a large scale then, which led to a major reduction in the deaths of children under six from problems related to malnutrition,” he said.

 

The second was in 2009, when the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) was introduced by the Fernández administration. “At least 500,000 people were pulled out of extreme poverty in just a few months,” he said.

 

The AUH, adopted halfway through Fernández’s first term, is a cash transfer to parents who are unemployed or work in the informal sector of the economy. It was later expanded to the children of domestics, pregnant women, low-earning members of cooperatives, and disabled people of any age.

 

The allowance, which is received by 1.8 million families of more than 3.3 million children and adolescents, is conditional on school attendance and keeping up-to-date on vaccines and medical checkups.

 

The allowance is 340 pesos (65 dollars) per month per child under 18. But in June it will increase to 460 pesos (88 dollars).

 

The living conditions of middle-class families who had fallen into poverty also improved over the last decade. In some cases, in fact, their lives made a complete turnaround.

 

Guillermo Mesa, who is 46 today, had a good job driving his own taxi in the late 1990s. He became one of the victims of the 2001-2002 crisis. “I lost everything,” he told IPS. After he was left without a job, his marriage fell apart in just a few months.

 

“The wave of car theft began at that time,” he said. “I lost mine, and when the insurance money came in, it wasn’t enough for me to buy anything.”

 

He was referring to the devaluation of the Argentine peso in early 2002.

 

“For two months I couldn’t find any work. I did some odd jobs here and there. I got some work driving a ‘remis’ (hired car). But the whole situation broke up my marriage. I had a one-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son,” he said.

 

In 2003, Mesa decided to complete secondary school. “After that, I started taking plumbing and electrical courses,” he said.

 

He took the classes at one of the Education Ministry’s vocational training centres, in Buenos Aires. “I eventually had a lot of work and even had to hire a few young guys.”

 

In 2008, the Central de Trabajadores de Argentina trade union opened skills training centres, and hired him as a teacher. “I took the class to become an instructor, and now I teach electrician classes to people over 16.”

 

He is happy because he is enrolled in the social security system and receives full labor benefits – paid vacation, annual bonus and medical insurance. He is now studying to become a librarian. “I’ll be done next year, and I want to get a certificate to teach math in high school,” he said.

 

Mesa has never been able to buy his own home. He never managed to buy another car, either. But he remarried, and his son is in the university. “It was hard, but I was lucky. Now it’s easier to find work, and if you study, that helps a lot,” he said.

 

12. GOOGLE TO STOP PAYING ARGENTINE APP DEVELOPERS (Business News Americas)

27 May 2013

 

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has decided to no longer accept payments on behalf of developers registered in Argentina who sell apps in the company’s app store Google Play starting June 27, the firm said in a statement.

 

The company did not provide information about the reasons for the decision. However, it seems that the move was forced by the strict foreign exchange controls imposed in recent months by Argentine authorities.

 

“Developers based in Argentina may continue to offer free applications in the Google Play store. All applications requiring the billing permission as well as in-app products will be unpublished from the Google Play store on June 27,” the company said.

 

Google also said that those local developers who may be “legally able to do business in one of the other supported countries and otherwise satisfy the Google Wallet terms of service for that country” may register for a Google Wallet Merchant Center account in that country and transfer the applications to it.

 

“We hope to restore payouts to developers based in Argentina in the future. While no specific plans are in place at the moment, we are looking forward to restoring this service, and we will make sure to notify you once payouts to developers based in Argentina are restored,” the company added.

 

The government has implemented several measures which are affecting normal business in the country. Companies cannot repatriate profits and are forced to reinvest profits in their local operations. Also, the central bank has banned local citizens from buying US dollars for saving purposes, which has created a US dollar black market in the country.

 

13. ARGENTINA’S YPF LOSES INTERNATIONAL RULING IN GAS-EXPORTS CASE (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Taos Turner

27 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) has lost an international arbitration case involving claims that YPF broke its contractual obligations after Argentina largely stopped exporting natural gas to neighboring countries because of domestic supply problems.

 

The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration found YPF responsible for rescinding its gas-export contracts in 2009 with the Brazilian energy company AES Uruguaiana Empreendimentos SA (AESU) and Argentina’s Transportadora de Gas del Mercosur, or TGM, YPF said in a stock-market filing Monday.

 

“YPF is studying the fundamentals of the arbitration ruling and it will energetically defend the interests of its shareholders,” the company said in the statement.

 

Possible damages could be determined in a separate ruling by the same tribunal, YPF said.

 

Another company, Brazil’s Companhia de Gas do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul, or Sulgas, which had also filed a claim against YPF, wasn’t mentioned in the statement.

 

In 2009, YPF was notified of claims by AESU and Sulgas for damages totaling $1 billion. Meanwhile, TGM filed claims for $17 million in damages and $366 million in lost profit, according to an annual document that YPF sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.

 

“YPF denies all liability arising from” the termination of its natural gas shipments, YPF told the SEC. YPF also said that AESU’s damages estimate “is far beyond any reasonable assessment” and that AESU had “voluntarily” ended its “long term power purchase contracts” before YPF stopped exporting natural gas.

 

Whatever the eventual outcome of the arbitration, the ruling seems unwelcome for YPF, which has been struggling to get international funding for its ambitious plan to develop shale oil and shale gas in the resource-rich province of Neuquen.

 

The legal challenges come in addition to a bid by the Spanish energy company Repsol SA (REP.MC) to prevent YPF from signing new investment deals before Argentina’s government has compensated Repsol for expropriating its majority stake in YPF last year. So far, Argentina has made no public offer to pay the Spaniards for their stake in YPF. Repsol is demanding $10.5 billion in compensation for the takeover.

 

The arbitration claims against YPF stem from the Argentine government’s decision in 2004 to force energy companies to supply natural gas to the domestic market regardless of their export contracts. That caused gas exporters to fully or partially suspend gas shipments to foreign customers.

 

At the time, Argentina was struggling to supply its people and industry with locally produced natural gas due to surging demand as a result of rapid economic growth and a freeze on utility rates. Natural-gas producers received better prices for gas shipped to neighboring countries than at home.

 

Argentina’s energy deficit has only gotten worse in recent years as price controls limit investment in new production. As a result, the government has been forced to import more expensive gas from Bolivia and Trinidad & Tobago.

 

YPF has argued force majeure in the arbitration case, saying it was the government, not the company, that was responsible for stopping gas deliveries.

 

YPF said years ago that it had appealed the government’s export limits in court, but that it had obeyed them nonetheless to avoid “the revocation of our export permits or other penalties.”

 

The companies that filed the claims against YPF could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

14. PETROBRAS DECIDES NOT TO SELL SOME ASSETS IN ARGENTINA (Platts Commodity News)

27 May 2013

 

Rio de Janeiro (Platts)–27May2013/110 pm EDT/1710 GMT  Petrobras has decided not to sell some of its assets in Argentina to companies in that country, including Oil Combustibles, owned by casino Tycoon Cristobal Lopez.

 

“Petrobras, in reference to the clarifications released previously about the sale of its assets in Argentina, announces that its executive board approved today the result of negotiations involving these assets and decided not to approve the sale transaction from the proposals obtained,” the company said in a statement Friday.

 

Platts reported May 14 that Brazilian energy company Petrobras was in talks with several Argentine companies for the sale of some of its Argentinian assets, but had not yet made any decisions. Those companies included Oil Combustibles. CEO Graca Foster told Brazil’s Committee on Economic Affairs in the capital Brasilia May 14 that the company’s board had not yet taken a position, and had no deadline to do so.

 

Foster’s comments followed reports in the Buenos Aires newspapers El Cronista and La Nacion that said Oil Combustibles had closed a deal to buy 51% of Petrobras Argentina, citing unidentified sources close to the proceedings.

 

The newspapers reported that this was a push by casino tycoon Cristobal Lopez, who owns Oil Combustibles through his Grupo Indalo holding company, to grow in the energy industry.

 

Oil Combustibles bought Petrobras Argentina’s 48,500 b/d San Lorenzo refinery, 345 service stations and a fleet of shipping vessels for $110 million in 2011. This made it a downstream leader, competing with YPF, Petrobras, Bridas and Shell in a sector with about 540,000 b/d of installed refining capacity.

 

A stake in Petrobras Argentina would have given Oil Combustibles a larger upstream footprint. The Brazilian company is the fifth-biggest oil producer in Argentina and fourth for natural gas. Petrobras Argentina also has other service stations and a 30,500 b/d refinery in Bahia Blanca.

 

Petrobras also said in its statement that the decision did not affect its disinvestment plan, which aims to raise $9.9 billion by 2017.

 

On May 24 the company said it had signed a farm-out for 12% of its participation in Block 6 on the Tanzania coast to Statoil Tanzania. Petrobras will keep 38% of the block and continue as operator. Shell Deepwater Tanzania has the other 50%. The company did not release the value of the farm-out.

 

15. PETROBRAS SAYS IT HAS REJECTED OFFERS FOR ARGENTINE ASSETS (Reuters News)

24 May 2013

 

* Company selling assets to pay for giant expansion plan

* Prices offered Petrobras have not met initial expectations

* Petrobras cut outlook for asset sales by 40 pct in March

 

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 24 (Reuters) – Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Friday its executive directors have rejected offers to buy its Argentina operations, in the latest setback for the company’s shrinking $9 billion asset-sale plan.

 

The announcement, made in a terse securities filing, did not say how many offers were made or which assets were the subject of the offers. The company had said on May 14 that it was considering a proposal from Argentine companies.

 

Argentine newspapers at the time reported that Petrobras had agreed to sell a 51 percent stake in its Argentine unit, Petrobras Argentina SA, to Argentina’s Oil Combustibles. Petrobras Argentina has oil and gas exploration and production assets as well as refining and distribution operations.

 

Petrobras reportedly opened bidding for the Argentine assets in December and has been planning to sell them since at least November.

 

The company is trying to sell assets in Latin America, the United States, Japan, Brazil and Africa to help pay for a $237 billion five-year expansion that is the world’s largest corporate investment program. It needs the cash as declining output, new field delays and government requirements that it subsidize local fuel prices crimp revenue and profit and drive up debt.

 

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras’ efforts to sell assets such as those in Argentina, its exploration, production and refining assets in and around the Gulf of Mexico, a refinery in Japan and oil fields and exploration blocks in Africa, have not been as successful as first expected.

 

Reuters reported Dec. 4 that it was having trouble selling $4 billion of offshore oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico that Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa called the most important part of the asset sale program.

 

In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico difficulties, the company revised its five-year plan in March to reduce the expected take from asset sales by nearly 40 percent to $9 billion from $14.8 billion.

 

Petrobras also pulled the Pasadena Refinery in Pasadena, Texas from the list of assets up for sale after allegations were raised that the purchase, whose price has ballooned to $1.2 billion, may have involved improper behavior by company executives and led to an expensive lawsuit with its former 50 percent partner, Belgium’s Transcor Astra Group.

 

The decision to pull Pasadena from the sale list also comes after refining margins recovered at the refinery and Brazilian government fuel-pricing policies forced Petrobras to import more gasoline and diesel fuel.

 

In addition to Petrobras’ Argentine oil and gas exploration and production assets and natural gas infrastructure, Petrobras’ Argentine operations include a 31,500 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and a 28.5 percent stake in another 32,000 bpd refinery in Salta Province. That refinery is 50 percent owned by YPF and 21.5 percent by Pluspetrol.

 

Reuters reported on March 27 that Petrobras was seeking $5 billion for its Nigerian oil assets.

 

Petrobras’ asset sale efforts through have not been totally unsuccessful. Earlier Friday it said it sold a 12 percent stake in a Tanzania oil exploration block to Norway’s Statoil for an undisclosed price.

 

In November it also sold a 40 percent stake in an offshore oil and gas concession to Brazil’s OGX Petroleo e Gas SA for $270 million.

 

 

16. EU IMPOSES DUTIES ON ARGENTINE, INDONESIAN BIODIESEL (Reuters News)

28 May 2013

 

BRUSSELS, May 28 (Reuters) – The European Union is imposing punitive duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, charging them with selling the product into the bloc at unfairly low prices.

 

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had set provisional tariffs ranging from 6.8 to 10.6 percent for imports from Argentina and between zero and 9.6 percent for those from Indonesia.

 

Argentina is the world’s No. 1 biodiesel exporter and the two countries represent 90 percent of EU biodiesel imports. Their share of the EU market rose to 22 percent in 2011 from 9 percent in 2009.

 

The duties will be effective from Wednesday and the investigation will continue, with member states expected to vote on definitive duties – typically imposed for five years – before the end of November.

 

The European Union is conducting a parallel investigation into allegations of unfair subsidies for producers in Argentina and Indonesia. That is expected to conclude by the start of December.

 

EU regulators have said taxes imposed on Argentina’s exports of crops such as soybean oil used to make biodiesel, but not on the finished product, make it uneconomical for EU refiners to produce biofuel from Argentine raw materials.

 

A similar export tax exists in Indonesia, which the commission says also undercuts European refiners.

 

Argentina and Indonesia have fought back, saying their measures comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

 

Indonesia has said it might complain to the WTO if the European Union imposes penalties. Argentina launched a challenge at the WTO this week against EU rules for importing and marketing biodiesel.

 

17. FIXED BROADBAND CONNECTIONS IN ARGENTINA REACHED 5.92MN AT END-2012, CISCO SAYS (Business News Americas)

27 May 2013

 

Fixed broadband connections in Argentina reached 5.92mn at the end of last year, up from 5.40mn at end-2011, according to the latest broadband barometer study released by Cisco.

 

The rise in connections brought the country’s fixed broadband penetration to 14.3% at the end-2012.

 

xDSL connections totaled 3.57mn at the end of the year, while cable modem connections amounted to 2.28mn. These two technologies represented 98.5% of total fixed broadband connections at the end of last year.

 

Cable modem connections expanded 5.9% during the second half of the year, while xDSL connections grew 3.5% during the same period, according to Cisco’s barometer.

 

The report also stated that 52.1% of total fixed broadband connections in the country had access speeds over 2Mbps.

 

Meanwhile, mobile broadband connections totaled 1.25mn at the end of 2012, climbing from 1.23mn at end-2011. Mobile broadband penetration reached 3% at the end of the year, according to the study.

 

By end-2013, total broadband connections are expected to reach 7.85mn.

 

Cisco forecasts that Argentina will have 9.8mn fixed and mobile broadband connections by 2017, when mobile broadband connections are expected to represent 16.5% of the total.

 

A total of 74.6% of fixed broadband connections by 2017 will have access speeds of over 2Mbps, according to the study.

 

The government of Argentina has said that spectrum for 4G mobile services could be awarded sometime during 2013. Mobile operators have been requesting additional spectrum to improve the quality of services. However, last year the government decided to call off a tender to award additional 3G spectrum, assigning the spectrum to state-run telco ArSat instead.

 

 


E.J. Dionne in Wash Post on Pres. Obama
He’s an anti-ideological leader in an ideological age, a middle-of-the-road liberal skeptical of the demands placed on a movement leader, a politician often disdainful of the tasks that politics asks him to perform. He wants to invite the nation to reason together with him when nearly half the country thinks his premises and theirs are utterly at odds. Doing so is unlikely to get any easier. But being Barack Obama, he’ll keep trying.

 

ARGENTINE UPDATE – May 28, 2013

29 mayo, 2013

1. OP-ED: AN ARGENTINE DICTATOR’S LEGACY (The New York Times)

 

2. ARGENTINE DEBT SPURS U.S. LEGAL DRAMA  (Los Angeles Times)

 

3. HUGE CROWD CELEBRATES ‘VICTORIOUS DECADE’ OF PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ AND HER LATE HUSBAND (The Washington Post)

 

4. CHILE AND ARGENTINA ISSUE RED ALERT OVER COPAHUE VOLCANO, EVACUATION TO START SOON (The Washington Post)

 

5. YPF SLUMPS AS RULING PORTENDS COMPENSATION: BUENOS AIRES MOVER (Bloomberg News)

 

6. PETROBRAS ARGENTINE ASSETS SALE FAILS AS BIDS MISS EXPECTATIONS (Bloomberg News)

 

7. CITIBANK ASKS U.S. COURT FOR ARGENTINA BOND-PAYMENT ASSURANCES (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

8. RATING AGENCIES ALERT TO ARGENTINA DEBT RULING, SOURING ECONOMY (Reuters News)

 

9. CHILE, ARGENTINA ORDER EVACUATION AROUND STIRRING SOUTHERN VOLCANO (Reuters News)

 

10. ARGENTINA PESO SEEN DEVALUING ON TIGHTER DOLLAR CONTROLS  (Market News International)

 

11. ECONOMY: POVERTY DOWN IN ARGENTINA – BUT BY HOW MUCH? (Inter Press Service)

 

12. GOOGLE TO STOP PAYING ARGENTINE APP DEVELOPERS (Business News Americas)

 

13. ARGENTINA’S YPF LOSES INTERNATIONAL RULING IN GAS-EXPORTS CASE (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

14. PETROBRAS DECIDES NOT TO SELL SOME ASSETS IN ARGENTINA (Platts Commodity News)

 

15. PETROBRAS SAYS IT HAS REJECTED OFFERS FOR ARGENTINE ASSETS (Reuters News)

 

16. EU IMPOSES DUTIES ON ARGENTINE, INDONESIAN BIODIESEL (Reuters News)

 

17. FIXED BROADBAND CONNECTIONS IN ARGENTINA REACHED 5.92MN AT END-2012, CISCO SAYS (Business News Americas)

 

1. OP-ED: AN ARGENTINE DICTATOR’S LEGACY (The New York Times)

By Federico Finchelstein

28 May 2013

 

Jorge Rafael Videla, leader of Argentina’s dictatorial junta from 1976 to 1981, died in prison on May 17, but his historical legacy is far from settled.

 

Although in his day he was lionized by some Cold War warriors as a savior of his nation, his crimes are no longer in question, and many young Argentines who never lived under his murderous grip regard him as a symbol of evil. The debate that persists is whether he in fact waged a ”dirty war,” implying two sides, or whether, as many professional historians agree, he simply unleashed state-sponsored terrorism.

 

Under the junta’s rule, even a five-year-old knew his name. That was my case: As far as I can remember, I never heard political discussions in the middle-class Argentine Jewish home in which I was raised, but I knew who he was.

 

Videla was a spectral figure with his gravelly voice, stern look and mustache. My parents later told me that they had considered it too dangerous to discuss the junta in the presence of a child. They knew too many people who had disappeared.

 

Like many other Argentines, I am still trying to come to terms with the crimes against humanity committed under Videla’s rule — the disappearances, the concentration camps, the citizens tortured, drugged and then thrown into the Atlantic from military planes. Official estimates range from 10,000 to 15,000 murder victims. [ A factual number!] There was also the theft of babies born to illegally detained mothers. One of the reasons I became a historian was because I wanted to understand how the so-called dirty war could have become a reality in a modern nation with a strong, progressive civil society.

 

Today Argentina once again has a strong civil society, an electoral democracy and a dynamic political culture with no place for the military in politics. The country has moved beyond Videla’s efforts at ”reconciliation”; it is clear from the reactions to his death that in Argentina almost nobody buys Videla’s idea that the military were saviors of the nation.

 

But a recent shift in the perception of Videla’s legacy poses new challenges to Argentina’s efforts to come to terms with its violent past. The current Peronist administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner regularly — and in most cases implausibly — accuses opponents of having been associated with the dictatorship, or, if they are too young, wishing for its return. The dictatorship has thus become an ultimate political insult, a populist means of political polarization. Equally problematic from a historical standpoint are the efforts by the Kirchner administrations to present the victims as heroes.

 

In effect, this marks a shift from a legal perception of perpetrators and victims under the junta, to a moral one of a ”war” between heroes and villains. This is exactly how Videla wanted to be remembered — as a warrior in a violent political contest.

 

President Kirchner and her husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, see themselves on the other side of this war, as warriors against absolute evil, though neither played any visible role in the resistance to the dictatorship. Thus history as populist melodrama presents a vision of past victims as protosupporters of current politics.

 

Such efforts to emphasize the political identities of the victims as the main reason for their victimization retroactively places the crimes of the state within the political sphere. Yet these crimes were outside politics — the ”dirty war” was state-sponsored terrorism, not a struggle between different political visions. Videla’s deeds belong to the history of the fascist genealogies of Argentina for which he wrote the last chapter.

 

Federico Finchelstein is associate professor of history and director of the Janey Program in Latin American Studies at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York. He is the author of the forthcoming ”The Ideological Origins of the Dirty War.”

 

2. ARGENTINE DEBT SPURS U.S. LEGAL DRAMA  (Los Angeles Times)

By Ken Bensinger

28 May 2013

 

A case pitting the nation against Wall Street creditors could have a global impact.

 

Collection agencies profit by buying up old debt, chasing borrowers for payment and, when all else fails, using the courts to recover as much as they can.

 

It’s a business model polished and perfected over decades of litigation. But what if the deadbeat is a sovereign nation of 40 million people whose fiery president has sworn never to pay?

 

That question now faces the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which has become an unlikely referee in a high-stakes grudge match pitting Wall Street investors against Argentina.

 

At its heart, the case tests the power of U.S. courts to force other countries to honor their debts. The outcome could hinder the ability of other struggling nations — including Greece and Cyprus — to renegotiate their commitments, potentially saddling them with crushing obligations they can’t escape.

 

In the button-down world of international finance, the proceedings have been nothing short of a barnburner. Each side has hired celebrity lawyers, traded insults and engaged in some bare-knuckle tactics, including the attempted seizure of an Argentine naval frigate by bondholders.

 

Now years of squabbling may be reaching a boiling point: A crucial ruling is expected as early as this week.

 

“The implications are huge,” economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz said. “This court is balancing the interests of very small groups of creditors against those of entire countries.”

 

Though little-known in the U.S., the case is a cause celebre in Argentina, where the long battle has taken an economic toll on the nation.

 

At issue is nearly $100 billion in debt that Argentina defaulted on in early 2002 after a prolonged recession and a currency crisis. It was the largest sovereign default in history.

 

The nation eventually was able to restructure more than 92% of that debt by persuading investors to exchange old bonds for new ones worth about two-thirds less. Bolstered by an economic boom in recent years, Argentina has kept current on the new obligations to what are called the exchange bondholders.

 

But much of the remaining debt was snapped up at a discount by bargain-hunting investors, who took Argentina to court and demanded full value.

 

Leading the charge was New York hedge fund Elliott Associates, which has found a lucrative niche forcing debtor nations through litigation to pay up. The firm has won huge judgments against Peru, the Republic of the Congo and other poor countries. In the developing world, such investors are dubbed vulture funds.

 

Elliott says Argentina is a bad actor with enough cash to fork over the roughly $1.4 billion it owes the fund and several other plaintiffs.

 

Elliott has made numerous attempts to help collect the debt by seizing Argentine assets, most notably a 340-foot ship, Libertad, held at port in Ghana for two months last year.

 

But Argentina proved a tenacious foe. Through a United Nations tribunal, it persuaded Ghana to release the ship. Still, the close call prompted President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to travel in a rented jet, leaving her presidential plane out of Elliott’s reach.

 

Frustrated after half a decade of litigation, Elliott and other holdouts tried a novel legal strategy. They argued that under a provision of its debt contracts, Argentina could no longer make payments to the bondholders who had settled unless it also paid the holdouts.

 

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa agreed. In November, the appeals court upheld the ruling and is now considering how to force payment and how much the holdouts should receive. Experts said the court could oblige Argentina to pay in full, match the deal it gave the exchange bondholders or offer something in between.

 

The appellate judges also are weighing whether to uphold an injunction Griesa put on Argentina’s bank, Bank of New York Mellon, that bars it from paying exchange bondholders unless holdouts also are paid. If that’s upheld, Argentina will be required to fork over something or be held in contempt.

 

The case is “an important test of the rule of law,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Ted Olson, best known for representing George W. Bush in the legal challenge to the Florida vote in the 2000 election.

 

“Argentina believes that, no matter what its contracts say, no matter that it has more than enough to pay all of its obligations, it can simply dictate terms to its creditors,” said Olson, who became U.S. solicitor general under Bush.

 

Fernandez de Kirchner has blasted the rulings, mocked the judges and called the holdouts pirates who have no respect for sovereign rights. She noted that a 2005 Argentine law prohibits giving holdouts a better deal than those who settled.

 

That has the exchange bondholders nervous that Argentina might elect to pay nobody rather than making the holdouts whole. They have hired high-powered litigator David Boies, who was Al Gore’s counsel in the 2000 Bush vs. Gore case.

 

Global anti-poverty groups are also worried. They fear that if the court allows the holdouts to get more than the exchange bondholders it will create a powerful incentive for bondholders to refuse to negotiate when the next sovereign default arises.

 

That could make it hard for nations facing economic crises to escape crushing debt loads, said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, an anti-poverty group that advocates sovereign debt cancellation. Unable to restructure debt, these countries would be required to use money otherwise dedicated for social services, education or public health to pay bondholders.

 

“Any precedent set here goes way beyond Argentina,” said LeCompte, noting that lawsuits mimicking Elliott’s tactic have been filed against other countries in recent months. “This will likely have the most far-reaching impact on global poverty of any ruling in our lifetime.”

 

That opinion is shared by some influential observers, including the U.S. Justice Department. It filed a brief arguing that the ruling “threatens core U.S. policy regarding international debt restructuring.”

 

Others contend that a more worrisome precedent could be set if the court doesn’t force Argentina to pay the holdouts. That could damage the U.S. legal system’s credibility and embolden other nations to shortchange investors, said Hans Humes, head of hedge fund Greylock Capital Management and former co-chair of an Argentine creditors committee.

 

“This is really a worst-case scenario,” he said.

 

Many speculate that Argentina may simply find a way to pay exchange bondholders outside the U.S., without a dime going to the holdouts. While critics of hedge funds might like to see Elliott thwarted, legal scholars say it’s a slippery slope.

 

“If Argentina doesn’t pay, nobody wins,” said Anna Gelpern, a law professor at American University who has written extensively about the case.

 

In Argentina, Libertad’s return to port was celebrated as a victory, and buitre, or vulture, has entered the popular lexicon.

 

But the nation is hurting from the battle. Cut off from international credit markets, Argentina has become a financial pariah — unable to borrow and forced to print pesos, fueling inflation.

 

Desperate for U.S. dollars it needs for trade and other obligations, the government has put strict limits on residents’ purchases of foreign currency. That has created a black market in which the dollar’s street price is now nearly double the official rate.

 

To fight inflation, many Argentines travel to neighboring Uruguay to take out dollar advances from ATMs on credit cards, while others have been buying the digital currency Bitcoins.

 

“It’s all connected to the unresolved debt problem,” said Matias Tombolini, an economist at the University of Buenos Aires. “The public is suffering from something it cannot control.”

 

No matter the outcome of the appeal, a petition to the Supreme Court is likely.

 

Many believe the case has helped focus attention on the shortcomings of the international sovereign debt system.

 

“We’ve created a totally dysfunctional sovereign debt market,” Stiglitz said. “Whether or not you like what Argentina has done, this is a question of equity.”

 

3. HUGE CROWD CELEBRATES ‘VICTORIOUS DECADE’ OF PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ AND HER LATE HUSBAND (The Washington Post)

By Damian Pachter

May 26, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez rallied a huge crowd Saturday night celebrating the 10-year government that she and her late husband Nestor Kirchner began in 2003. Her voice breaking, she called it a victorious decade, “won not by a government but by the people.”

 

This year’s election will determine whether Fernandez has enough votes in congress to undo constitutional term limits and extend her rule beyond 2015. But she suggested Saturday night that she won’t try. She said “I’m not eternal, nor do I want to be.”

 

Putting human rights violators on trial and pushing to put more of Argentina’s wealth in the hands of its poorest people will continue to be the pillars of this government, she said. “Equality is the grand symbol of this decade and of those to come,” she vowed.

 

Her opponents took aim at the “decade won” theme, noting that the years of strong economic growth have ended, and saying that if this is what victory looks like, Argentina is in big trouble.

 

Whether the Kirchners’ decade will be remembered for its historic achievements or its missed opportunities depends on whom you talk with in Argentina, where society is bitterly divided over their legacy.

 

Analysts consulted by The Associated Press said they deserve credit for fostering 7 percent average growth and restoring power to the presidency. Kirchner was inaugurated on May 25, 2003 at a chaotic time; the country was still suffering from its 2001 crisis, and poverty was extreme.

 

The Kirchners began an era of social inclusion, external debt reduction and state intervention that was the exact opposite of the privatization binge and anything-goes capitalism that characterized Argentina in the 1990s.

 

Ten years later and going it alone after her husband died of a heart attack, Fernandez has intensified her government’s control over the economy and diverted billions of dollars more to subsidizing the poor.

 

“This is an extraordinarily significant decade in Argentine history,” said philosopher Ricardo Forster, a supporter. The transformations have managed to enrich the social, cultural, political and economic life.”

 

But Fernandez’s approval ratings have dropped sharply recently amid rising inflation and crime, corruption allegations involving top appointees and allied businessmen; increasingly heavy-handed economic controls; and efforts to transform the justice system. Critics say the real goal is eliminating challengers to presidential power.

 

“This decade represents a tremendous missed opportunity, which you can see by looking at what other countries in the region have done with similar possibilities and limitations,” said sociologist and attorney Roberto Gargarella, a government critic.

 

Thousands of citizens have joined a series of pot-banging protests in recent months, and the crowd gathering in the Plaza de Mayo to hear Fernandez speak Saturday night was intended to provide a powerful counterpoint. Hundreds of thousands of people were bused in by the “organized and united” network of pro-government groups, and their flags and huge TV screens were installed in nearby streets.

 

“This is the government I always dreamed of and fought for in the 1970s,” said Paloma Perez Galdos, a 58-year-old bank worker. “It’s time that we have a justice system for everyone, not just for the rich.”

 

“Social inclusion” under the Kirchners has involved providing billions of dollars in cash welfare payments families with children and people working in the informal economy. The government has raised pensions and minimum wages, and directed vast amounts of government revenue to keep the economy moving.

 

“Unemployment has gone from 25 percent to 7 percent ten years later … in an economy that grew as fast as China,” said Ramiro Castineira, an economic analyst with the Econometrica firm.

 

Castineira and Gargarella disagree on many aspects of the Kirchners’ legacy, but they both say intervening in the government statistics service in 2007 was a critical mistake. Ever since, official annual inflation has refused to budge over 10 percent, even as Argentine shoppers watch prices double and triple each year. Many other statistics based on consumer prices have become widely disregarded.

 

“All the numbers on unemployment, poverty, inflation and inequality are falsified,” Gargarella said.

 

“Misrepresenting the numbers was a strong blow to market confidence; that raised the country risk and made it impossible for Argentina to take on foreign debt. That’s why the government turned to expanding the money supply,” Castineira agreed.

 

Since 2008, the government has sought to capture more of the windfall profits from soy exports. But that alone couldn’t finance the spending, so it printed more money and changed currency and tax rules forcing businesses to keep profits inside Argentina. That dissuaded investors, spurred capital flight and pushed annual inflation to as much 30 percent right now, private analysts say.

 

Economic instability now threatens to undo much of what the Kirchners accomplished.

 

“Today it’s clear that Argentina, under the leadership of the Kirchners, has not known how to take advantage of the opportunity that this first decade of the 21st century has represented for Latin America, which is the strongest growth in two centuries of history,” political analyst Rosendo Fraga said. “Instead of taking the path of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay, it’s taking that of Venezuela.”

4. CHILE AND ARGENTINA ISSUE RED ALERT OVER COPAHUE VOLCANO, EVACUATION TO START SOON (The Washington Post)

By Eva Vergara in Santiago and Michael Warren and Debora Rey in Buenos Aires

May 27, 2013

 

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chilean and Argentine officials issued a red alert Monday for the increasingly active Copahue volcano bordering the two countries and ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people.

 

Chilean Interior and Security Minister Andres Chadwick said the increased activity could lead to an eruption and officials would soon begin evacuating 2,240 people, or 460 families, within a 25-kilometer (15.5-mile) radius.

 

“This evacuation is obligatory; it’s not voluntary,” Chadwick told reporters.

 

Chile’s Emergency Office said the evacuation could last about 48 hours, but could be delayed because of heavy rains.

 

The nearly 10,000-foot (2,965-meter) sits in the Andes cordillera, overlapping Chile’s Bio Bio region and Argentina’s Neuquen province.

 

Argentine officials raised their alert level to red Monday afternoon due to higher seismic activity and ordered the evacuation of about 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighboring city of Loncopue.

 

“The volcano is not erupting yet, but as a preventive measure we’ve decided to evacuate the population,” the Neuquen Crisis Committee said.

 

“There are no ashes in Caviahue. The vapor plume has descended, but in the last days, seismic activity has increased. That’s the reason behind the change of alert in Argentina and Chile.”

 

Copahue registered high seismic activity in December when its ash cloud billowed almost a mile (1.5 kilometers) high.

 

The volcano had a major eruption in 1992, according to the Chilean Mining Ministry’s Sernageomin geology unit. It became highly active with blasts and gases in 2002, in its strongest activity in more than 20 years.

 

Chile has more than 3,000 volcanoes the Andes and about 500 of them remain active.

 

 

5. YPF SLUMPS AS RULING PORTENDS COMPENSATION: BUENOS AIRES MOVER (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez

May 27, 2013

 

YPF SA, the oil company seized by Argentina’s government last year, fell the most among the country’s major stocks after losing an arbitration case that may cost it as much as $1.6 billion in indemnity payments.

 

The shares dropped 3.6 percent to 114.70 pesos at 4:59 p.m. in Buenos Aires, the steepest decline among 15 global peers tracked by Bloomberg. The Merval index gained 0.6 percent.

 

The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration found YPF responsible for rescinding on gas-export contracts in 2009 with AES Corp. (AES)’s Brazilian unit based in Uruguiana and Techint Group and Total SA (FP) unit TGM, YPF said in a note sent to the regulator after the close of trading May 24.

 

“The ruling is a black cloud on the company’s horizon and triggered the share price fall,” Carlos Aszpis, an equity strategist at Schweber & Cia. Sociedad de Bolsa SA, said by telephone from Buenos Aires.

 

Damages could be determined in a separate ruling by the same tribunal, the company said. In 2009, YPF was notified of claims by AES for damages totaling $1 billion while TGM sought $17 million in damages and $366 million in lost profit, according to a YPF filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.

 

Including past due interest, the amount would be $1.6 billion, Aszpis said.

 

The company, based in Buenos Aires, said it would analyze the arbitration ruling and energetically defend shareholders’ interests. Alejandro Di Lazzaro, a YPF spokesman, declined to comment further when contacted by telephone today.

 

Spain’s Repsol SA (REP) is seeking $10.5 billion in compensation from Argentina for the April 2012 nationalization of YPF. Under the previous management, YPF said it was the government not the company that was responsible for stopping gas deliveries.

 

6. PETROBRAS ARGENTINE ASSETS SALE FAILS AS BIDS MISS EXPECTATIONS (Bloomberg News)

By Rodrigo Orihuela

May 26, 2013

 

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the most indebted publicly-traded oil company, rejected all offers for its Argentine assets after at least four months of talks as it seeks to raise $9.9 billion through sales and cost cuts.

 

“The executive board analyzed today the results of the negotiations for these assets and decided not to approve their sale under the offers that have been received,” Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras said in a May 24 regulatory filing after markets closed in Sao Paulo, without offering further details. Petrobras had been receiving offers since at least January. Argentina’s Grupo Indalo was among the bidders.

 

Petrobras is seeking to raise funds for a $237 billion five-year business plan, with 62 percent of the funds earmarked for exploration and production as it taps offshore reserves constituting the world’s largest discovery this century. The company this month issued $11 billion in bonds to help finance the program in the largest-ever emerging markets issuance.

 

Petrobras Argentina SA, as the Argentine unit is called, is state-controlled Petrobras’s only publicly-listed unit. About 33 percent of the unit, acquired in 2002 from the Perez Companc family, is listed in Buenos Aires and also trades in New York through American Depositary Receipts. The company produces oil and gas in Argentina, refines fuels and has gasoline stations.

 

Cost-Cutting Plan

Petrobras this year scaled back its divestiture and cost-cutting plan from an original $14.8 billion target because the company had no experience as an asset seller and overestimated demand, Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Silva Foster said March 15.

 

Earlier in the year Petrobras took out $7 billion in bank loans, which puts total debt raised this year at $18 billion.

 

On May 24, Petrobras announced the sale of a 12 percent stake in the off-shore Block 6 in Tanzania to Statoil ASA (STL) for an undisclosed amount. Petrobras will continue to operate the block and will hold a 38 percent stake. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) will hold the remainder.

 

Petrobras has also sold assets in the Gulf of Mexico and Benin this year.

 

7. CITIBANK ASKS U.S. COURT FOR ARGENTINA BOND-PAYMENT ASSURANCES (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Ken Parks

24 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Citibank has asked a U.S. district court to confirm that its Argentine banking unit isn’t bound by a ruling that bars the Argentine government from making payments on bonds it issued under New York law.

 

Despite a previous ruling to that effect, Citibank is once more seeking assurances that payments made on Argentine law bonds held in custody at Citibank Argentina are beyond the reach of any restraining order issued by the U.S. court.

 

Citibank Argentina could be exposed to “possible criminal risk for obeying a court order not recognized as valid in Argentina” if the court’s ruling were interpreted as applying to Argentine bonds paid in that country, Citibank said in a court filing this week.

 

“It would be unthinkable that a U.S. judge could tell an Argentine banking entity, regulated under Argentine law and under the control of the central bank, that it could or couldn’t comply with the obligations it has to its clients,” Argentina’s Finance Secretary Adrian Cosentino said in a statement.

 

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has pledged to keep paying some creditors regardless of how U.S. courts rule in a case that pits her government against hedge funds led by Aurelius Capital Management and Elliott Management Corp. unit NML Capital Ltd. Citibank isn’t a party to that litigation.

 

The landmark case might not only determine whether investors who own billions of dollars of Argentina’s performing bonds get paid, but could also be seen as a precedent for sovereign restructurings around the world.

 

The Kirchner administration’s insistence that it will pay its current New York law bonds has fueled speculation that it might try to shift payments to Argentina if it loses the case.

 

Under that scenario, it’s not clear how the Argentine government and the banks that process its bond payments in the U.S. could engineer a payment mechanism without being declared in contempt of court.

 

District Court Judge Thomas Griesa has barred Argentina from paying its New York law bonds unless it also pays more than $1.3 billion in court awards the hedge funds have won after a decade of litigation. His ruling has been suspended until the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the matter.

 

The funds are seeking full repayment on bonds that Argentina stopped paying when it defaulted on $100 billion of debt in 2001.

 

The funds are collectively known as holdouts due to their refusal to accept new bonds issued by Argentina in heavily discounted debt exchanges in 2005 and 2010. So far, Argentina has restructured about 93% of its defaulted debt.

 

It’s now up to a three-judge panel to decide whether Argentina’s proposal to offer holdouts a deal similar to the 2010 restructuring complies with Mr. Griesa’s ruling that holdouts be treated the same as investors who accepted new bonds. The holdouts have rejected Argentina’s latest offer.

 

A spokesman for NML Capital declined to comment.

8. RATING AGENCIES ALERT TO ARGENTINA DEBT RULING, SOURING ECONOMY (Reuters News)

By Hilary Burke

24 May 2013

 

* Uncertainty reigns over outcome of U.S. court battle

* Economy slowed sharply, distortions increasing-analysts

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 24 (Reuters) – Argentina’s dismal credit ratings might get a boost if U.S. courts rule in the country’s favor in a long-running dispute with creditors over a 2002 default, but rating agency analysts say weak economic conditions could hinder any positive outcome.

 

Argentina has not tapped global credit markets since it defaulted on roughly $100 billion in sovereign debt 11 years ago, mainly because of lawsuits by “holdout” creditors who rejected debt swaps and sought full repayment despite acceptance by nearly 93 percent of other bondholders.

 

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with the court case because this is uncharted territory,” Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Joydeep Mukherji told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit this week.

 

The credit ratings on Latin America’s No. 3 economy are deep in junk bond territory. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings cut some of Argentina’s ratings further after two U.S. courts ruled against the country late last year.

 

One judge ordered Argentina to pay holdouts the full $1.33 billion owed them the next time it serviced restructured debt. Argentina appealed, and a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected in the coming weeks.

 

Investors are following the case closely because Argentina appears willing to enter into technical default in order to avoid paying the holdouts any more than what other creditors received in the 2005 and 2010 restructurings.

 

S&P has kept Argentina’s sovereign credit rating at B-minus with a negative outlook, despite the legal risks.

 

“To go one step further to the C category, for our own debt criteria, that would be making a very strong statement saying we think they’re going to lose the court case and we think that there’s no escape valve,” Mukherji said. “We feel that we’ve signaled enough to the market what the dangers are and with a B-minus negative we’re saying, we’re right at the edge here.”

 

If the court case goes against Argentina, that could push the rating into either selective default or default.

 

If Argentina ends up winning a favorable ruling, however, the S&P analyst said he still could not guarantee the agency would improve the negative rating outlook since abrupt policy changes make the country such a “fast-moving story.”

 

Moody’s senior credit officer, Mauro Leos – speaking at the summit held in Reuters’ New York office – had a similar perspective.

 

In March, Moody’s cut the credit rating on Argentine sovereign debt governed by foreign law to Caa1, reflecting the risk that a final court ruling would result in some delay or loss to holders of restructured foreign-law debt. It affirmed Argentina’s B3 issuer rating, which applies to bonds issued under local law.

 

Leos said a court ruling that favors Argentina and averts any payment problems on the restructured debt would likely put the rating on foreign-law bonds back to B3.

 

“That would be a purely technical decision. What is more important is the fundamentals,” Leos said, citing concerns over increased state intervention and economic distortions.

 

Argentine officials often assail rating agencies and the economy minister has accused them of issuing “terrorist reports” to scare investors and benefit speculators.

 

SLOWING ECONOMY

 

Argentina’s economy has slowed sharply in the past year after booming during most of the last decade. Most economists blame soft global demand, high inflation and the negative impact of currency and trade controls on investment.

 

Fitch slashed Argentina’s long-term foreign currency debt rating to CC from B in November, reflecting its view that a default was likely due to the U.S. court rulings. It also noted that a missed payment on the New York-law bonds could trigger a “cross default” on all foreign-law restructured debt.

 

At the same time, Fitch cut the local currency rating to B-minus from B and placed it on a negative outlook.

 

Sovereign analyst Shelly Shetty said Fitch would raise its foreign currency rating if Argentina won the court case, but it would also take deteriorating economic conditions into account.

 

With no access to capital markets and sharply slowing economic growth, Argentina faces more fiscal pressure. But if it leans more on the central bank for financing, that will worsen inflation, which is already seen topping 20 percent a year.

 

“There’s not only a very difficult and challenging economic environment, but also a very feeble economic recovery,” Shetty told the summit on Friday, saying nonetheless Argentina still has enough international reserves to keep paying its debts.

 

9. CHILE, ARGENTINA ORDER EVACUATION AROUND STIRRING SOUTHERN VOLCANO (Reuters News)

27 May 2013

 

* Copahue volcano located roughly 500 km south of Santiago

* Roughly 2,240 to be evacuated in Chile, authorities say

 

SANTIAGO/BUENOS AIRES, May 27 (Reuters) – Chilean and Argentine authorities on Monday declared a red alert and ordered the mandatory evacuation of a 25-km (15.5-mile) radius around the active Copahue volcano, which straddles the border between the two Andean nations.

 

The volcano – located some 500 km (310 miles) south of capital Santiago, between Chile’s Bio Bio region and Argentina’s Neuquen province – has seen increasing seismic activity in recent weeks but has not erupted, Chilean authorities said.

 

“This doesn’t necessarily mean the volcano will start erupting. But according to the Sernageomin (National Geological and Mining Service), the volcano is now in a process that could culminate in an eruption, for that reason we’ve issued a red alert and the evacuation,” Chilean Interior Minister Andres Chadwick told a nationally televised news conference.

 

Authorities estimated that some 2,240 people will be evacuated in Chile.

 

In Argentina’s Neuquen province, authorities also declared a “red alert,” and ordered the evacuation of some 900 people in tourist-haven Caviahue-Copahue. The Argentine municipality had previously ordered the cancellation of school classes.

 

Close to the Chilean side of the volcano, in Bio Bio region, power generator Endesa Chile operates the Ralco and Pangue hydroelectric dams, which have not been affected by the evacuation order.

 

Endesa Chile is monitoring the situation, a company source told Reuters. Water levels at the dams are at technical lows, which would avoid the possible need to open the floodgates, and the dams’ walls are designed to withstand earthquakes, the source said.

 

In mid-2011, ash from a volcano in Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain that erupted after decades of lying dormant forced the sporadic cancellation of hundreds of flights, especially in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay.

 

10. ARGENTINA PESO SEEN DEVALUING ON TIGHTER DOLLAR CONTROLS  (Market News International)

By Charles Newbery

27 May 2013

 

Argentina’s peso likely will gain on the black market this week after authorities tightened controls on withdrawing dollars from Argentine bank accounts at overseas ATMs.

 

The central bank set the limit at $100 a quarter in neighboring countries and $800 a month elsewhere in a bid to stem capital flight as people buy dollars and remove them from the financial system on concerns of a worsening economy, currency depreciation and high inflation.

 

Estimates suggest the pace of such withdrawals would have reached $1 billion this year, up from an annual average of $25 million in recent years.

 

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner started trying to contain capital flight five days after entering her second four-year term in October 2011 after the amount more than doubled that year. She has gradually tightened the controls, even making it illegal to buy dollars for savings.

 

Her administration is trying to safeguard the country’s hard-currency reserves for financing the state and paying the national debt. Argentina has yet to regain access to international financial markets, given that about $20 billion is still in arrears from a $100 billion default in 2001 and creditors could seize the proceeds of a bond sale.

 

With a midterm congressional election coming Oct. 27, CFK appears to have opted to try to sustain central bank reserves with the restrictions on buying dollars, prompting people to turn to the black market. The rising demand pushed up the so-called blue rate 54% to a high of 10.45 to the dollar May 8 – a nearly 100% gap with the official rate of 5.26 – from 6.80 at the start of the year.

 

Her administration then managed to cut the rate to 8.43 per dollar May 22 by announcing plans for a tax amnesty, offloading dollar-denominated government bonds and raising interest rates to increase the amount of dollars in the system.

 

CFK is seeking congressional approval for the amnesty, which would allow people to put undeclared money into the financial system without tax penalties. The government estimates these undeclared funds total $160 billion, or four-times the central bank reserves.

 

The funds brought in through the amnesty would go to the central bank in exchange for bonds, helping to rebuild reserves which have sunk to $38.8 billion from a record of nearly $53 billion in early 2011.

 

People are still nervous. With the new restrictions on foreign ATM withdrawals, people turned to the black market again, pushing up the rate to 8.80 May 24, and some traders say it could hit 10.

 

The government also plans to launch an effort to unleash die-hard supporters such as from the La Campora youth movement to control prices at supermarkets with the aim of limiting inflation ahead of the congressional election. The government put caps on 500 products in February, helping to contain inflation at around 25% a year.

 

The control plan has raised criticism, with opposition politicians saying the state should do such monitoring as well as consumer rights groups and civil society organizations, not zealous youth supporters.

 

Government supporters, however, say the campaign will discourage retailers and their suppliers from jacking up prices to achieve what they say are excessive profits.

 

11. ECONOMY: POVERTY DOWN IN ARGENTINA – BUT BY HOW MUCH? (Inter Press Service)

By Marcela Valente

27 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, May 27, 2013 (IPS/GIN) – In the 10 years since late president Néstor Kirchner, who was succeeded by his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007, first took office in Argentina, poverty has fallen, employment has climbed and educational coverage has expanded, although there is no agreement on the exact statistics.

 

Just how much poverty has been reduced is in dispute. But in any case the poverty level has gone down in the past decade of Kirchner governments, say experts and activists who talked to IPS.

 

“We are closer than ever to zero hunger, although there are still malnourished kids,” said the leader and founder of the Red Solidaria (Solidarity Network), Juan Carr.

 

Hunger, floods, extreme cold, epidemics, the need for an urgent transplant are some of the social problems addressed by the Red Solidaria, an NGO that has a network of volunteers around the country.

 

“Poverty makes people in Argentina feel indignant,” Carr said. “But this attitude is a new thing, since about 15 years ago. That wasn’t true before. Only the most progressive people were concerned about poverty. Today everyone is. But the way some people look at it is a little immature. Many get angry.”

 

In his interview with IPS, Carr was careful to steer clear of the heated dispute between spokespersons of the centre-left Fernández administration and the opposition on whether or not the poverty rate is going down. In his view, the statistics are neither as good nor as bad as the two sides would have people think.

 

The poverty rate in Argentina had soared to 54 percent in late 2001, when the severe economic crisis triggered massive street protests. A brutal police crackdown on the protests left dozens of demonstrators dead and injured, prompting then president Fernando de la Rúa to step down.

 

Kirchner, who died in October 2010 at the age of 60, became president on May 25, 2003 after a series of caretaker presidents, and since then the poverty rate has steadily fallen.

 

According to the latest figure released by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INDEC), from late 2012, 5.4 percent of Argentina’s 40 million people are poor.

 

But the opposition and some experts have called INDEC’s figures into question since the executive branch increased its involvement in the statistics body in 2007. They argue that INDEC’s numbers are based on an artificially low estimate of the cost of the basic food basket, which purportedly does not take into account the real inflation rate.

 

For example, studies presented by the private Catholic University of Argentina put the poverty rate at almost 27 percent.

 

Statistics on unemployment also vary. According to official figures, it plunged from 24 percent in 2002 to 16.3 percent in 2003, and to 7.9 percent today.

 

But these numbers are also questioned.

 

Carr said he believes the real poverty rate is “somewhere in the middle.”

 

“It doesn’t seem to affect 30 percent, but not just five percent either. I think a reasonable assumption would be that one out of five people in Argentina are still poor,” he said.

 

With respect to the fight against poverty, the activist mentioned “two glorious moments” in the last decade.

 

One was in 2003, when agriculture began to recover and the government had “very good” social policies. “Food started to really be produced on a large scale then, which led to a major reduction in the deaths of children under six from problems related to malnutrition,” he said.

 

The second was in 2009, when the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) was introduced by the Fernández administration. “At least 500,000 people were pulled out of extreme poverty in just a few months,” he said.

 

The AUH, adopted halfway through Fernández’s first term, is a cash transfer to parents who are unemployed or work in the informal sector of the economy. It was later expanded to the children of domestics, pregnant women, low-earning members of cooperatives, and disabled people of any age.

 

The allowance, which is received by 1.8 million families of more than 3.3 million children and adolescents, is conditional on school attendance and keeping up-to-date on vaccines and medical checkups.

 

The allowance is 340 pesos (65 dollars) per month per child under 18. But in June it will increase to 460 pesos (88 dollars).

 

The living conditions of middle-class families who had fallen into poverty also improved over the last decade. In some cases, in fact, their lives made a complete turnaround.

 

Guillermo Mesa, who is 46 today, had a good job driving his own taxi in the late 1990s. He became one of the victims of the 2001-2002 crisis. “I lost everything,” he told IPS. After he was left without a job, his marriage fell apart in just a few months.

 

“The wave of car theft began at that time,” he said. “I lost mine, and when the insurance money came in, it wasn’t enough for me to buy anything.”

 

He was referring to the devaluation of the Argentine peso in early 2002.

 

“For two months I couldn’t find any work. I did some odd jobs here and there. I got some work driving a ‘remis’ (hired car). But the whole situation broke up my marriage. I had a one-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son,” he said.

 

In 2003, Mesa decided to complete secondary school. “After that, I started taking plumbing and electrical courses,” he said.

 

He took the classes at one of the Education Ministry’s vocational training centres, in Buenos Aires. “I eventually had a lot of work and even had to hire a few young guys.”

 

In 2008, the Central de Trabajadores de Argentina trade union opened skills training centres, and hired him as a teacher. “I took the class to become an instructor, and now I teach electrician classes to people over 16.”

 

He is happy because he is enrolled in the social security system and receives full labor benefits – paid vacation, annual bonus and medical insurance. He is now studying to become a librarian. “I’ll be done next year, and I want to get a certificate to teach math in high school,” he said.

 

Mesa has never been able to buy his own home. He never managed to buy another car, either. But he remarried, and his son is in the university. “It was hard, but I was lucky. Now it’s easier to find work, and if you study, that helps a lot,” he said.

 

12. GOOGLE TO STOP PAYING ARGENTINE APP DEVELOPERS (Business News Americas)

27 May 2013

 

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has decided to no longer accept payments on behalf of developers registered in Argentina who sell apps in the company’s app store Google Play starting June 27, the firm said in a statement.

 

The company did not provide information about the reasons for the decision. However, it seems that the move was forced by the strict foreign exchange controls imposed in recent months by Argentine authorities.

 

“Developers based in Argentina may continue to offer free applications in the Google Play store. All applications requiring the billing permission as well as in-app products will be unpublished from the Google Play store on June 27,” the company said.

 

Google also said that those local developers who may be “legally able to do business in one of the other supported countries and otherwise satisfy the Google Wallet terms of service for that country” may register for a Google Wallet Merchant Center account in that country and transfer the applications to it.

 

“We hope to restore payouts to developers based in Argentina in the future. While no specific plans are in place at the moment, we are looking forward to restoring this service, and we will make sure to notify you once payouts to developers based in Argentina are restored,” the company added.

 

The government has implemented several measures which are affecting normal business in the country. Companies cannot repatriate profits and are forced to reinvest profits in their local operations. Also, the central bank has banned local citizens from buying US dollars for saving purposes, which has created a US dollar black market in the country.

 

13. ARGENTINA’S YPF LOSES INTERNATIONAL RULING IN GAS-EXPORTS CASE (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Taos Turner

27 May 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) has lost an international arbitration case involving claims that YPF broke its contractual obligations after Argentina largely stopped exporting natural gas to neighboring countries because of domestic supply problems.

 

The Paris-based International Court of Arbitration found YPF responsible for rescinding its gas-export contracts in 2009 with the Brazilian energy company AES Uruguaiana Empreendimentos SA (AESU) and Argentina’s Transportadora de Gas del Mercosur, or TGM, YPF said in a stock-market filing Monday.

 

“YPF is studying the fundamentals of the arbitration ruling and it will energetically defend the interests of its shareholders,” the company said in the statement.

 

Possible damages could be determined in a separate ruling by the same tribunal, YPF said.

 

Another company, Brazil’s Companhia de Gas do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul, or Sulgas, which had also filed a claim against YPF, wasn’t mentioned in the statement.

 

In 2009, YPF was notified of claims by AESU and Sulgas for damages totaling $1 billion. Meanwhile, TGM filed claims for $17 million in damages and $366 million in lost profit, according to an annual document that YPF sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.

 

“YPF denies all liability arising from” the termination of its natural gas shipments, YPF told the SEC. YPF also said that AESU’s damages estimate “is far beyond any reasonable assessment” and that AESU had “voluntarily” ended its “long term power purchase contracts” before YPF stopped exporting natural gas.

 

Whatever the eventual outcome of the arbitration, the ruling seems unwelcome for YPF, which has been struggling to get international funding for its ambitious plan to develop shale oil and shale gas in the resource-rich province of Neuquen.

 

The legal challenges come in addition to a bid by the Spanish energy company Repsol SA (REP.MC) to prevent YPF from signing new investment deals before Argentina’s government has compensated Repsol for expropriating its majority stake in YPF last year. So far, Argentina has made no public offer to pay the Spaniards for their stake in YPF. Repsol is demanding $10.5 billion in compensation for the takeover.

 

The arbitration claims against YPF stem from the Argentine government’s decision in 2004 to force energy companies to supply natural gas to the domestic market regardless of their export contracts. That caused gas exporters to fully or partially suspend gas shipments to foreign customers.

 

At the time, Argentina was struggling to supply its people and industry with locally produced natural gas due to surging demand as a result of rapid economic growth and a freeze on utility rates. Natural-gas producers received better prices for gas shipped to neighboring countries than at home.

 

Argentina’s energy deficit has only gotten worse in recent years as price controls limit investment in new production. As a result, the government has been forced to import more expensive gas from Bolivia and Trinidad & Tobago.

 

YPF has argued force majeure in the arbitration case, saying it was the government, not the company, that was responsible for stopping gas deliveries.

 

YPF said years ago that it had appealed the government’s export limits in court, but that it had obeyed them nonetheless to avoid “the revocation of our export permits or other penalties.”

 

The companies that filed the claims against YPF could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

14. PETROBRAS DECIDES NOT TO SELL SOME ASSETS IN ARGENTINA (Platts Commodity News)

27 May 2013

 

Rio de Janeiro (Platts)–27May2013/110 pm EDT/1710 GMT  Petrobras has decided not to sell some of its assets in Argentina to companies in that country, including Oil Combustibles, owned by casino Tycoon Cristobal Lopez.

 

“Petrobras, in reference to the clarifications released previously about the sale of its assets in Argentina, announces that its executive board approved today the result of negotiations involving these assets and decided not to approve the sale transaction from the proposals obtained,” the company said in a statement Friday.

 

Platts reported May 14 that Brazilian energy company Petrobras was in talks with several Argentine companies for the sale of some of its Argentinian assets, but had not yet made any decisions. Those companies included Oil Combustibles. CEO Graca Foster told Brazil’s Committee on Economic Affairs in the capital Brasilia May 14 that the company’s board had not yet taken a position, and had no deadline to do so.

 

Foster’s comments followed reports in the Buenos Aires newspapers El Cronista and La Nacion that said Oil Combustibles had closed a deal to buy 51% of Petrobras Argentina, citing unidentified sources close to the proceedings.

 

The newspapers reported that this was a push by casino tycoon Cristobal Lopez, who owns Oil Combustibles through his Grupo Indalo holding company, to grow in the energy industry.

 

Oil Combustibles bought Petrobras Argentina’s 48,500 b/d San Lorenzo refinery, 345 service stations and a fleet of shipping vessels for $110 million in 2011. This made it a downstream leader, competing with YPF, Petrobras, Bridas and Shell in a sector with about 540,000 b/d of installed refining capacity.

 

A stake in Petrobras Argentina would have given Oil Combustibles a larger upstream footprint. The Brazilian company is the fifth-biggest oil producer in Argentina and fourth for natural gas. Petrobras Argentina also has other service stations and a 30,500 b/d refinery in Bahia Blanca.

 

Petrobras also said in its statement that the decision did not affect its disinvestment plan, which aims to raise $9.9 billion by 2017.

 

On May 24 the company said it had signed a farm-out for 12% of its participation in Block 6 on the Tanzania coast to Statoil Tanzania. Petrobras will keep 38% of the block and continue as operator. Shell Deepwater Tanzania has the other 50%. The company did not release the value of the farm-out.

 

15. PETROBRAS SAYS IT HAS REJECTED OFFERS FOR ARGENTINE ASSETS (Reuters News)

24 May 2013

 

* Company selling assets to pay for giant expansion plan

* Prices offered Petrobras have not met initial expectations

* Petrobras cut outlook for asset sales by 40 pct in March

 

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 24 (Reuters) – Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Friday its executive directors have rejected offers to buy its Argentina operations, in the latest setback for the company’s shrinking $9 billion asset-sale plan.

 

The announcement, made in a terse securities filing, did not say how many offers were made or which assets were the subject of the offers. The company had said on May 14 that it was considering a proposal from Argentine companies.

 

Argentine newspapers at the time reported that Petrobras had agreed to sell a 51 percent stake in its Argentine unit, Petrobras Argentina SA, to Argentina’s Oil Combustibles. Petrobras Argentina has oil and gas exploration and production assets as well as refining and distribution operations.

 

Petrobras reportedly opened bidding for the Argentine assets in December and has been planning to sell them since at least November.

 

The company is trying to sell assets in Latin America, the United States, Japan, Brazil and Africa to help pay for a $237 billion five-year expansion that is the world’s largest corporate investment program. It needs the cash as declining output, new field delays and government requirements that it subsidize local fuel prices crimp revenue and profit and drive up debt.

 

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras’ efforts to sell assets such as those in Argentina, its exploration, production and refining assets in and around the Gulf of Mexico, a refinery in Japan and oil fields and exploration blocks in Africa, have not been as successful as first expected.

 

Reuters reported Dec. 4 that it was having trouble selling $4 billion of offshore oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico that Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa called the most important part of the asset sale program.

 

In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico difficulties, the company revised its five-year plan in March to reduce the expected take from asset sales by nearly 40 percent to $9 billion from $14.8 billion.

 

Petrobras also pulled the Pasadena Refinery in Pasadena, Texas from the list of assets up for sale after allegations were raised that the purchase, whose price has ballooned to $1.2 billion, may have involved improper behavior by company executives and led to an expensive lawsuit with its former 50 percent partner, Belgium’s Transcor Astra Group.

 

The decision to pull Pasadena from the sale list also comes after refining margins recovered at the refinery and Brazilian government fuel-pricing policies forced Petrobras to import more gasoline and diesel fuel.

 

In addition to Petrobras’ Argentine oil and gas exploration and production assets and natural gas infrastructure, Petrobras’ Argentine operations include a 31,500 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and a 28.5 percent stake in another 32,000 bpd refinery in Salta Province. That refinery is 50 percent owned by YPF and 21.5 percent by Pluspetrol.

 

Reuters reported on March 27 that Petrobras was seeking $5 billion for its Nigerian oil assets.

 

Petrobras’ asset sale efforts through have not been totally unsuccessful. Earlier Friday it said it sold a 12 percent stake in a Tanzania oil exploration block to Norway’s Statoil for an undisclosed price.

 

In November it also sold a 40 percent stake in an offshore oil and gas concession to Brazil’s OGX Petroleo e Gas SA for $270 million.

 

 

16. EU IMPOSES DUTIES ON ARGENTINE, INDONESIAN BIODIESEL (Reuters News)

28 May 2013

 

BRUSSELS, May 28 (Reuters) – The European Union is imposing punitive duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, charging them with selling the product into the bloc at unfairly low prices.

 

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had set provisional tariffs ranging from 6.8 to 10.6 percent for imports from Argentina and between zero and 9.6 percent for those from Indonesia.

 

Argentina is the world’s No. 1 biodiesel exporter and the two countries represent 90 percent of EU biodiesel imports. Their share of the EU market rose to 22 percent in 2011 from 9 percent in 2009.

 

The duties will be effective from Wednesday and the investigation will continue, with member states expected to vote on definitive duties – typically imposed for five years – before the end of November.

 

The European Union is conducting a parallel investigation into allegations of unfair subsidies for producers in Argentina and Indonesia. That is expected to conclude by the start of December.

 

EU regulators have said taxes imposed on Argentina’s exports of crops such as soybean oil used to make biodiesel, but not on the finished product, make it uneconomical for EU refiners to produce biofuel from Argentine raw materials.

 

A similar export tax exists in Indonesia, which the commission says also undercuts European refiners.

 

Argentina and Indonesia have fought back, saying their measures comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

 

Indonesia has said it might complain to the WTO if the European Union imposes penalties. Argentina launched a challenge at the WTO this week against EU rules for importing and marketing biodiesel.

 

17. FIXED BROADBAND CONNECTIONS IN ARGENTINA REACHED 5.92MN AT END-2012, CISCO SAYS (Business News Americas)

27 May 2013

 

Fixed broadband connections in Argentina reached 5.92mn at the end of last year, up from 5.40mn at end-2011, according to the latest broadband barometer study released by Cisco.

 

The rise in connections brought the country’s fixed broadband penetration to 14.3% at the end-2012.

 

xDSL connections totaled 3.57mn at the end of the year, while cable modem connections amounted to 2.28mn. These two technologies represented 98.5% of total fixed broadband connections at the end of last year.

 

Cable modem connections expanded 5.9% during the second half of the year, while xDSL connections grew 3.5% during the same period, according to Cisco’s barometer.

 

The report also stated that 52.1% of total fixed broadband connections in the country had access speeds over 2Mbps.

 

Meanwhile, mobile broadband connections totaled 1.25mn at the end of 2012, climbing from 1.23mn at end-2011. Mobile broadband penetration reached 3% at the end of the year, according to the study.

 

By end-2013, total broadband connections are expected to reach 7.85mn.

 

Cisco forecasts that Argentina will have 9.8mn fixed and mobile broadband connections by 2017, when mobile broadband connections are expected to represent 16.5% of the total.

 

A total of 74.6% of fixed broadband connections by 2017 will have access speeds of over 2Mbps, according to the study.

 

The government of Argentina has said that spectrum for 4G mobile services could be awarded sometime during 2013. Mobile operators have been requesting additional spectrum to improve the quality of services. However, last year the government decided to call off a tender to award additional 3G spectrum, assigning the spectrum to state-run telco ArSat instead.

 

 


E.J. Dionne in Wash Post on Pres. Obama
He’s an anti-ideological leader in an ideological age, a middle-of-the-road liberal skeptical of the demands placed on a movement leader, a politician often disdainful of the tasks that politics asks him to perform. He wants to invite the nation to reason together with him when nearly half the country thinks his premises and theirs are utterly at odds. Doing so is unlikely to get any easier. But being Barack Obama, he’ll keep trying.

 

EDUARDO MENEM re La Justicia

28 mayo, 2013

http://opinion.infobae.com/eduardo-menem/2013/05/28/los-jueces-tienen-la-palabra/

CRISTINISMO INVESTIGADO POR URUGUAY

28 mayo, 2013

http://ar-mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch#mail

CORTE SUPREMA PESIFICADORA

28 mayo, 2013

El Supremo Tribunal Argentino fue  modificado en su integración,  por Néstor Kirchner,  para lograr que sentenciaran que la pesificación duhaldista fue justa, y lo logró.  Con eso, algunos se enriquecieron y muchos mas  perdieron, porque Argentina quedó desprestigiada. Entre  otros delitos monetarios, el Banco Central se apropió de alrededor de 17 mil millones de dolares ajenos que mantenía como depositario, por cuenta de terceros, cada uno de los abstractos tenedores de los pesos convertibles.  Apropiarse el Estado de esa masa de dinero ajeno durante el duhaldismo, fue muy mal visto en el mundo y aquí por gran parte de la gente. Steve H. Hanke – inventor de la convertibilidad – en su articulo A LEGALIZED THEFT, publicada en Forbes Magazine a comienzos de 2002, lo denunció, y tiempo después asesoró al Congreso Estadounidense que no prestara dinero al  país incumplidor de sus compromisos. Esto lo hemos dicho mas de veinte veces, calculo, en este blog, paro los economistas y la oposición se olvidaron, creen que se puede estafar desde el Estado siempre, y que nada sucederá a Argentina.

El problema sigue siendo que nuestra Corte Suprema mayoritariamente kirchnerista, aceptó el disparate jurídico de que una deuda contraida en dolares norteamericanos puede ser cancelada pagando una cantidad de dinero menor. Ese criterio  sumiso de los Supremos marcó un antecedente judicial terrible, porque el derecho de propiedad depende desde entonces de la buena o mala voluntad del Presidente de turno. Y los Jueces Supremos olvidan dos mil años de derecho romano, donde era sensato y equitativo que una obligación de entregar cien caballos, no pudiese ser cancelada mediante el pago de cien gallinas. La Justicia es sensata, o no sirve. Por eso, el Kirchnerismo catalogó de “fondos Buitres” a los tenedores de bonos que no quisieron aceptar las quitas propuestas, y seguimos así considerados país incumplidor serial.

Escucho que la Corte Suprema espera la opinión de la  Procuradora General Gils Carbó,  para fallar en un juicio donde el actor demanda judicialmente su derecho a comprar dólares,  que el Gobierno le niega, vía AFIP.  Formalmente, la Procuración General debe siempre  opinar, antes de que la Corte Suprema falle. Y en este caso, siendo Gils Carbó designada por Cristina,  excusarse, a menos que se sienta agradecida y opine que es constitucional que la gente no pueda comprar dolares, con la Constitución liberal que todavía tenemos.

La Corte Suprema también esta en un brete: debe decidir su mayoría oficialista si llegó el momento de aplicar la Constitución, o seguir postergando el caso (tipo la reposición del Procurador de la Provincia de Santa Cruz) o rechazar con fundamentos jurídicos serios el sensato pedido del actor.

La obsecuencia a nivel de Jueces Inferiores es cosa normal, mas no en todos los magistrados. Las Cortes Supremas argentinas suelen ser hasta hoy, ultraoficialistas, cuando han sido designadas por el Presidente en ejercicio, y son justas y equitativas cuando el Presidente que los nombró ya no está. Pero hoy es distinto:  Néstor los designó, pero Cristina provoca el impedimento que la Corte debe resolver. Y ya vimos que la Corte Suprema no impidió que desde el Ejecutivo se modificaran las atribuciones del banco central para poder la Presidenta designar a alguien capaz de violar las leyes y permitir que el Ejecutivo emita dinero inflacionario incontrolado, que implica robar el Estado a la gente en forma inconstitucional.

Llegó otro momento crucial, los Supremos deberán decidir si abandonan el buque Cristinista que se hunde,  o si la acompañan hasta el fondo del mar, con sentencias claramente insensatas, como la de la pesificación. Podrían inventar otra vez que existe Estado de Emergencia, pero lo cierto es que la gente sabe que un dolar vale lo que el mercado paralelo indica. Cuanto menos confiable sea Argentina, mas costará el dolar. Y cuanto mas obsecuente sea la Corte Suprema al sistema cristinista que nos roba y engaña, mayor será la cantidad de pesos para comprar un dolar. Porque  el valor del dolar no solo se rige – como suponen muchos economistas – por el aumento de la emisión de papel moneda respecto de las teóricas reservas del banco central, sino que algo mas incide, y mucho: si tenemos Estado de Derecho, es decir, si existe una Justicia capaz de frenar hoy al cristinismo.

Porque si no hay dolares, es porque el gobierno lo impide, basta caminar por la calle Lavalle, en buenos Aires, para encontrar con gente que ofrece comprar y vender dolares. El país está lleno de dólares, todos lo sabemos, mas no todos los tenemos. Los informes de los medios sugieren que el cristinismo tiene amigos o testaferros que han debido utilizar Euros en vez de dolares, porque ocupan menor volumen, ya que tienen que movilizarlos en una cantidad tan importante, que prefieren los billetes de 500 Euros, que ocupan la quita parte del volumen de los dolares. Se habla de miles de millones de dolares sucios en manos del oficialismo, y esas noticias desde hace tiempo vuelan alrededor del mundo, y el desprestigio oficialista aumenta,. con lo cual si sumamos Corte Oficialista + Gobierno ladrón,  el resultado me muestra  que Argentina y todo lo que aquí existe, vale menos. Si  no lo creen, hagamos la comparación entre dos islas mas o menos parecidas: Cuba y Puerto Rico.  La primera, vale casi nada, económicamente hablando, pero si el modelo cambiase y el Estado de  Derecho volviese , todo valdría en el mercado varias veces mas. Porque hoy nadie paga para radicarse en Cuba y desarrollar un proyecto económico honesto confiable, de no ser intimo amigo de los que mandan. Y en Argentina estamos mucho mas cerca ya del modelo bolivariano cubano venezolano, que del viejo sistema liberal que nos hizo crecer a partir de que la Constitución de 1853/60 permitió que tuviésemos reglas de juego claras, y el derecho de propiedad fuese respetado.

Los tiempos se aceleran, quizás en la Corte Suprema hoy se recuerde el chista de que las ratas abandonan el buque que está por hundirse, y advierten que  tan solo cuatro de ellos pueden frenarla a nuestra querida Presidenta para que no abuse mas de un Poder que no tiene, cuando la Corte Suprema hace lugar a demandas sensatas contra un Gobierno insensato y sospechado.

LA CÁMPORA x Radio Miami

28 mayo, 2013

http://www.radiomiami.us/noticia.php?c=18&idn=12807

NÉSTOR superior a CRISTINA

27 mayo, 2013

¿Se engañan los cristinistas cuando hablan de una década exitosa? Con Néstor Presidente durante 2003/7, hubo cuatro años de enorme mejora (comparado con de la Rua y Duhalde) y cuando Cristina asumió  su esposo le impidió descarrilarse. Pero al enviudar en octubre de  2010,  eligió peores compañías y  programas políticos y económicos.  Hubiera sido reelecta sin  dilapidar dinero estatal, por falta de opositores en el 2011, pero su temor a perder nos empobreció : victoria a lo Pirro. Fue derrotada por la inflación y  corrupción del modelo autoritario familiar K, y como solo le  quedan dos años y medio, decidieron negar la realidad. La fiesta nacional del 25 de Mayo fue escandalosamente cara y oficialista, todo lo paga el pueblo argentino, y cabe suponer será imposible un tercer mandato seguido, no ya  la Constitución se lo impide, sino porque la gente ahora desconfía.

Mejor estaríamos hoy si  en el 2003 Carlos Saul Menem hubiera sido electo Presidente, iba primero en el balotaje cuando algo o alguien le impidió seguir, y surgió el kirchnerismo, que aun intenta convencernos que Argentina creció con ellos, porque omite que a la hiperinflación alfonsinista la frenó Menem en 1991 con su convertibilidad. Y recuperamos confianza internacional luego de muchos años de horrores. Hasta que de la Rúa y Cavallo cometieron el criminal corralito y Duhalde la traidora destrucción de la moneda, con lo que nos hundimos tanto, que Néstor Presidente pareció exitoso por comparación. Y luego la suba de la soja y otros commodities triplicó el valor en dolares de nuestras exportaciones, y el modelo familiar K pudo  redistribuir dinero publico en grandes sumas que han sido parcialmente denunciadas como delitos y algunas ya   investiga una Justicia,  por ahora  mas afín al oficialismo que a la imparcialidad. Pero en 2015, si Cristina deja el cargo, la Justicia dejará de ser cristinista y las investigaciones se acelerarán y varios serán castigados, porque hay demasiadas evidencias a la vista.

Los antimenemistas me dirán que la corrupción hubiera seguido con Menem Presidente en el 2003, olvidando las estafas de de la Rua y Duhalde. Pero a la luz del dinero publico que no aparece, proveniente de la triplicación de los commodities que exportamos, y además, de la inflación que Duhalde reinventó y los Kirchner intentaron frenar, confirmo que hasta hoy el menos malo de los presidentes que vi en mi vida, fue Menem, porque  nos reinventó la ausente moneda. Que hoy sigue ausente, y sin ella, el sistema financiero no existe, el ahorro nacional fuga al exterior, el desempleo cunde y la corrupción estatal crece. Al menos, la corrupción vía inflación y reajuste de precios por mayores costos, había terminado. Pocos, podrían haber robado con gobiernos que hubieran tenido que cumplir con los Presupuestos Nacionales, al no poder emitir dinero inflacionario. Los gobernantes hubieran tenido que autolimitarse, y controlar que el pueblo no sea robado. A escala nacional, provincial y municipal.

Las paritarias sindicales, de las que Cristina se ufana, existen porque el trabajador intenta recuperar lo que mes a mes la inflación le va quitando de su salario. En países con moneda estable, las paritarias no tienen sentido. Los servidores públicos, tipo maestros y policías, no tendrían derecho a huelga, porque no es el Estado municipal, provincial o Nacional  un “empresario capitalista”. Con maestros no huelgistas, la niñez tendría buen ejemplo y en el futuro todos serían mejores que nosotros, los salvajizados argentinos, por haber vivido demasiadas generaciones sin estabilidad monetaria ni gobernantes creíbles. Desde 1930, el 6 de septiembre,  cuando el fascismo nazionalista se entronizó para quedarse.

¿acaso el Papa argentino nos quitará el maleficio del fascismo peronista? Una pena digan que Perón en su ultima etapa, se había democratizado,  y se amigó con Ricardo Balbin, a quien había mandado a la cárcel siendo diputado. Olvidan los románticos que Perón, viejo y enfermo, eligió como vicepresidenta a su esposa Isabel Martinez, prueba de que no quería terminar su modelo fascista. Si hubiese sido Balbin su vicepresidente, no  hubieran podido cometer las escandalosas estafas durante Perón e Isabelita, que continuaron luego  cuando los militares olfatearon que era negocio ser Presidentes. Sucedió lo que jamas hubiera pasado si el  general Uriburu no hubiera en 1930 destruido la Constitución y la independencia de la Corte Suprema. Dos temas pendientes de cambio, si queremos llegar a ser una Republica democrática.

 

ARTE CURA GRATIS J. BARROS

27 mayo, 2013

 

 

—– Mensaje reenviado —–
De: Juan Barros <info@juanbarros.com.ar>
Para: German rafael Piran <grafpi1@yahoo.com.ar>
Enviado: domingo, 26 de mayo de 2013 21:53
Asunto: empezamos el jueves 6 de junio

 

Germán, feliz domingo!!! Por favor, te Agradecemos que nos ayudes a difundir…

 

A través del arte…

“APRENDER A CONTAR CON UNO MISMO”

¡Dale!

Empezamos el jueves 6 de junio

(Centro Cultural Recoleta, Junín 1930 Piso 1º / 18.30 a 20.10 hs / Todos los jueves de junio y julio

TALLER GRATUITO

 (invitación válida exclusivamente para cursar por primera vez)

 

“CURAR A TRAVÉS DEL ARTE”

El Taller vivencial de arteterapia de la

Fundación Dr. Enrique Rossi

 Centro de Diagnóstico Dr. Enrique Rossi

 

GRATUITO

 

Prof. Juan Barros

(psicoterapeuta y artista plástico)

Energizante natural

APTO PARA TODO PÚBLICO

 

Informes e inscripción:

Centro de Diagnóstico Rossi

Tel: 4011-8043 (Inés)

idebaz@cdrossi.com

www.cdrossi.com

 

Consultas al prof. Juan Barros:

info@juanbarros.com.ar

 

¡MUCHAS GRACIAS!

a la Empresa EUREKA por los productos para artistas que siempre nos brindan.

Ir al rescate de uno mismo

¡HACELO POR VOS!

 

6 encuentros / 6 rescates

A través del arte, ir al rescate de uno mismo:

Frente a la falta de voluntad

Frente a los miedos

Frente a los límites

Frente al fracaso

Frente a las pérdidas

Frente al tiempo (pasado, presente y futuro)

 

Aprender a pintar y aprender a construir actitud

La ACTITUD da APTITUD