May International News - South America

May 1, 2001
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This edition focuses on South America.

Ceramig Invests R$28.5 Million in New Factory

Ceramig has said that it will invest R$28.5 million to construct a factory in Uberaba, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, to produce tableware and sanitaryware. The plant will be built in two stages. The first phase is due to start September 2001 and begin operations in June 2002. This half of the plant will require R$14.15 million of the total investment and will create 180 jobs. Expected revenue for the first year of full operation is R$58 million. The second stage should generate 314 jobs, said Uberaba municipal secretary Maurício Cecílio.

Source: Gazeta Mercantil

Chilean Telecommunications Market on the Rise

According to a survey by Chile’s largest telecom company, Telefonica CTC Chile, spending on telecom services increased 18% between 1997 and 2001. Of the average $46 per month spent by many Chilean families, about 43% goes toward mobile service, 40% toward fixed line service, 12% toward national and international long distance and 5% to the Internet. Mobile service generated the most growth, increasing from just 14% of monthly spending in 1997.

Source: CNN Financial Network (www.cnnfn.com)

Brazilian Stocks Affected by U.S. Economy

Many of Brazil’s stocks were trading lower in April as a result of the slowdown in the U.S. “The market will remain very weak if privatization news cannot liven it up,” said one trader, noting at the same time that the low volume inspired hopes that the market would soon reach a support level and bounce back.

Bruno Otero of Santander Bank added, “Our fundamentals are good, but we are still suffering a lot from U.S. troubles. We hope the market soon comes to a point when everyone realizes that stocks have become very cheap and that the overall climate here is good. Then there should be a good rise.”

Brazil’s economy grew 4.46% last year, powered by industrial output, and the country has made a solid recovery from two years of stagnation.

Despite some fears of growing inflation, due in large part to the real’s weakness and a weak trade balance, Brazil’s economy is expected to grow around 4% this year, which fuels the market’s optimism. However, in recent weeks, Brazilian markets have been under heavy pressure from worries over the U.S. economic slowdown and fears of a regional contagion from the Argentine economic crisis. The Bovespa index has lost 10% since the start of 2001.

Source: CNN Financial Network (www.cnnfn.com)

Emetra Launches Online Metals Marketplace in Chile

Emetra, a London-based metals marketplace, has launched a Chilean version that will allow online transactions in real time for copper, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals. The company aims to optimize the non-ferrous metals business by offering a platform where negotiations can be made with transparency, low costs, a wide range of suppliers and buyers and easy access to market information.

“This site goes beyond copper. We trade various metals such as aluminum, lead and zinc,” said Victor Perez, CEO of the Chilean mining website Webminero, which is Emetra’s exclusive Latin American agent.

Emetra is currently working to standardize online metals trading in terms of documentation and technology. Another immediate plan is to consolidate the company’s Documentation Center, where documents can be transferred electronically. This was expected to be ready by the end of April.

Source: CNN Financial Network (www.cnnfn.com)

QUIMTEC 2001 to be Held in Brazil

QUIMTEC 2001, the 3rd International Trade Fair for Chemical Products, Equipment and Process Engineering, will be held November 19-22, 2001, at the Expo Center Norte in Sao Paulo, Brazil. KölnMesse International and its Brazilian trade fair partner Francal, as well as supporting associations VDMA Fachverband Verfahrenstechnische Maschinen und Apparate (ProcessMachinery and Equipment Division) (VtMA) and ABIQUIM, the association of the Brazilian chemicals industry, are confident that the third run of the QUIMTEC will establish it as the leading professional trade fair in South America.

The sales opportunities for chemical products, process control engineering, process engineering plants and equipment in particular are excellent for the medium to long term in the core states of the Mercosur. The turnover of the Brazilian chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors in 1998 of US$33.4 billion gained by 17% in only the first half of 2000 and continues to grow.

The Brazilian industrial association Abiquim, the congress partner of KölnMesse International, anticipates investments of roughly US$5.1 billion by its members by the year 2004, $1.7 billion of that for machinery and equipment. This does not yet include projects resulting from the new gas supplies from Bolivia that will be constructed in coming years in Brazil. A number of petrochemical industrial regions and thermal power plants are planned. The best export opportunities will be in the areas of pumps, compressors and plant construction, process, control and environmental engineering, as well as water and wastewater technologies.

For more information, contact KölnMesse International GmbH, (49) 221-821-2096, fax (49) 221-821-3222, e-mail quimtec@kmi.koelnmesse.de, or visit http://www.quimtec.com.

Business Sector Criticizes Chilean Government

Chile’s business sector heavily criticized the government of President Ricardo Lagos at a meeting in early April, calling for more clarity and less populist tactics from the government. The meeting, organized by the Chilean Institute for Rational Business Administration (Icare), was held to discuss Chile’s low growth rate, privatization and the influence of past and future elections on the national economy.

The president of Chile’s Confederation of Production and Commerce (CPC), Ricardo Ariztia, criticized the government’s reluctance to privatize national institutions, saying, “It is not clear whether the government really believes in privatization or not…. We are appealing to the government to start privatizing the country’s most significant institutions, including all the state-owned companies such as the National Petroleum Company (Enap), the Post Office, the National Mining Company (Enami) and the National Copper Corporation (Codelco).” Ariztia added that selling these companies could generate a total of US$30 billion for the government’s coffers.

In the course of the conference, Icare conducted a survey to evaluate the general attitude within the business sector. Entitled “What Do You Expect From The Year 2001?,” the survey showed that only 12% of Chilean business people feel optimistic about the future of the economy.

Source: Santiago Times

Brazil Explores Potential New Mines

According to Omar Akel, president of state-owned mining company Mineropar, the government of the Brazilian state of Parana has begun studying the mining potential of the municipalities of Jaguariaiva, Ivai and Rio Azul.

The work, which is being done by Mineropar in partnership with the municipalities, is part of the “Mining Wealth” project. The project is expected to result in complete and detailed reports on mineral areas in each municipality, as well as indications of their exploration potential. “It is part of the government’s policy to expand opportunities for generating employment and credit for the population,” Akel said.

“With the final reports in their possession, the government and the municipalities are going to talk with private business people, presenting them with opportunities to invest to take advantage of this wealth,” he said. The project will obtain more exact data on which municipalities are the most promising, the localization of mining areas within these municipalities, and the most important minerals that could be explored. After the fieldwork, all the material collected by the geologists and technicians will be analyzed in Mineropar’s laboratories. The fieldwork will take place simultaneously in the three municipalities, and Akel said that he hopes the company will be able to start work in other areas every month or so.

Source: Business News Americas (www.BNamericas.com)

Brazil Rejects Deregulation Bill

Brazil’s senate constitution and justice committee (CCJ) recently approved a bill introduced by Senator Roberto Freire that would ban the privatization of state companies in the electricity sector. At press time, the bill had yet to appear before the economic affairs committee.

Freire, a member of the neo-communist Partido Popular Socialista Party (PPA) believes the energy sector is strategic to the economy and that it is necessary to generate new energy sources rather than sell existing and operational plants. “At the present moment [the energy sector] is in crisis in the face of slight economic recovery, with the risk of rationing and power cuts,” Freire said.

Source: www.eyeforenergy.com <.I>

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