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April 4, 2014

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Protests seen toning down Brazil World Cup boom
Brazilians fail to see the benefits of being the host to the tournament

A series of protests in Brazil that began last June are raising concerns that the benefits to business from the World Cup will be reduced. Brazilians aren’t seeing the promised benefits of being the World Cup host, with some transportation projects unfinished and stadium costs that swelled more than 40 percent to at least $3.5 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Mexico and Panama sign free trade agreement
Accord moves Panama closer to joining Pacific Alliance

The presidents of Mexico and Panama signed a free trade deal on Thursday, moving the Central American nation a step closer to joining the Pacific Alliance. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his counterpart Ricardo Martinelli concluded the accord in Panama City, one of the prerequisites for Panama joining the Pacific trade alliance, which comprises Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru, Reuters reports.

Feds launch probe of Citogroup over Mexico fraud
FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan oversee criminal investigation

The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan have opened a criminal investigation into the $400 million fraud at Citigroup's Mexican division Banamex, which Citi revealed in late February. The probe is focusing in part on whether holes in Citi’s internal controls contributed to the fraud, which the bank said involved at least one Banamex employee as well as falsified invoices from oil company Oceanografia, Fox Business reports.

Julius Baer seeks deals in Latin America
Firm increased its holding in Brazil's GPS Investments in first quarter

Switzerland's third largest wealth manager Julius Baer Group is seeking deals in Latin America where millionaires are increasingly banking onshore. “Latin America represents for Julius Baer a core market in which we want to expand further,” Boris Collardi, chief executive officer of the Zurich-based firm, said.  “We are principally interested to further grow our footprint either organically or via selected acquisitions," he added, Swissinfo reports.

Venezuela may move towards open currency market
Government promised to make exchange controls more flexible

Venezuela may move toward an open currency market after more than a decade of exchange controls, ruling Socialist Party legislator Ricardo Sanguino said. "The trend in the medium and long term could be that we have an open market for currency without the application of an exchange rate anchor," Sanguino added, Reuters reports.

MOREOVER

Ecopetrol's Cartagena refinery to restart in May 2015 Reuters

UNASUR foreign ministers to return to Venezuela next week Bernama

Brazilian and Russian hackers discover Facebook's biggest holes Bloomberg

Supreme Court of Canada to hear Chevron appeal of Ecuador case Toronto Star

As Cuba eases rules, many Cuban-Americans turn against embargo Economist

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