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  • Nicaragua adopts Japanese-Brazilian digital TV system

    Nicaragua has adopted the Japanese-Brazilian digital TV system (ISDB-T), becoming the 13th Latin American nation to opt for this standard. The choice, already widely expected, was confirmed by the Brazilian communications ministry (MiniCom). This system has also been adopted by Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, in addition to Botswana, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, as well as Brazil and Japan. On Thursday Brazil and Nicaragua signed a Memorandum of Understanding on technical training in satellite and ICT services, MiniCom reported. The MoU was signed in Brasília by Brazilian deputy communications minister Luís Azevedo and Nicaraguan communications minister Orlando José Castillo as part of the implementation of ISDB-T, decided by the Central American country earlier this month. Brazil has committed to support Nicaragua in launching its own satellite and is also cooperating with the country in training on digital terrestrial television technology, MiniCom said. Technological training and technology transfer to the countries that opted for ISDB-T are included in the agreements for the implementation of this system. In Latin America, Colombia and Panama are opting for Europe's DVB-T system; the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico and El Salvador have chosen the US standard ATSC; and Cuba has gone with Chinese standard DTMB.

  • Brazil GDP contraction: ICT services drop 1.3% in 2Q15

    Information services, a basket of activities including telecommunications, broadcasting, cinema, newspapers, books and magazine publishing, computers and other ICT-related services, shrank by 1.3% in Brazil in 2Q15 compared to the first three months of the year. The decrease contributed to a 1.9% quarter-on-quarter contraction in Brazil's GDP for the period. On a year-over-year basis, the country's GDP was down 2.9% for the second quarter. The GDP figures, which confirm that the country has technically entered recession, were released this Friday by statistics bureau IBGE. On a year-on-year basis, information services increased 0.5% in 2Q15, reaching 42.1bn reais (US$11.7bn). This represents nearly 3% of the country's GDP of 1.42tn reais in the quarter at constant currency terms. In the first quarter of this year information services generated 42.91bn reais.

  • Graña y Montero eyeing M&A expansion strategy for services

    Peruvian engineering and infrastructure holding Graña y Montero is eyeing organic and inorganic opportunities to extend the presence of its IT services business in Colombia, as part of its goal to become the leader in infrastructure services in the Andean region, the company's corporate manager of services Jaime Dasso told BNamericas. The company is in the process of completing its fourth acquisition in Chile in as many years. In June, Graña y Montero signed an agreement to buy a 44% stake in Chilean systems integrator Adexus, which will be fully merged with Graña y Montero's IT services unit GMD next year. In 2013, Graña y Montero spent US$41mn to acquire DSD Construcciones y Montajes, a company specialized in electromechanics and structures and services for the energy, oil & gas, wood pulp and mining sectors. A year earlier the company acquired 80% of mining construction company Vial y Vives, and in 2011, Graña y Montero acquired Compañía Americana de Multiservicios (CAM), a company that offers engineering, operation and maintenance services for utilities. Now the focus is on strengthening the ICT services sector to complete a vision of offering end-to-end infrastructure services. Adexus was a good fit because it is strongly positioned in the mining, transport and financial services sectors, and also has a presence in various countries on the Pacific Ocean. "Adexus has a client-oriented culture that aims to exceed expectations and add value to society. That culture is very much in line with ours. It also has a vision of being a regional leader in services," Dasso said, speaking on the sidelines of the Adexus Day event in Santiago. "The next step will be to grow in Colombia via GMD, which could be either organically or inorganically," Dasso added. COMPLEMENTARY The executive said that GMD and Adexus are complementary in terms of the services they offer and their geographical coverage. Adexus is strong in solutions integration for mobility, cloud computing, communications and big data. GMD's strengths are in outsourcing of applications, data center services and business process outsourcing (BPO), for example managing billing for water meters. The verticals that the joint company will go after include mining, energy, highways, healthcare and telecommunications, as well as banking and financial services. MACRO ECONOMY With respect to the economic turbulence and depreciation of Latin American currencies against the US dollar, Dasso said that in periods of low growth companies tend to seek to reduce costs and improve efficiency, which can often be beneficial for companies that provide technology. "On one hand we see projects being put on hold until there is greater visibility of the macro environment. But we also see the beginning of projects for greater efficiency, cost reduction, safety in mines, reduction of waiting times at ports etc."

  • IN BRIEF: Planned Panama Canal restrictions suspended

    The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has lifted previously announced restrictions on larger vessels using the interoceanic waterway. The restrictions, tied to below-average rainfall, were due to enter force on September 8. But, ACP said, rainfall over the last few days, combined with conservation measures, has enabled it to suspend their implementation. "The Panama Canal will continue to monitor and manage the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes. The draft restrictions may again be necessary should weather conditions change and the level of Gatun Lake begins to fall, in which case, the restriction will be announced with at least four weeks advance notice," ACP said. The current El Niño climate phenomenon has strengthened over the last month and is shaping up to be one of the most powerful since 1950, according to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). Below-average rainfall in the northern parts of South America and higher-than-normal rainfall in southeastern South America and central Chile is likely, the IRI said.

  • LatAm port sector in eye of climate change storm

    Drought is gripping large swaths of Central and South America, while abnormally high rainfall flooded northern Chile earlier this year and Argentina's Buenos Aires province more recently. On top of rising sea levels, melting Andean glaciers, increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patters, the region was put on notice this week of a strengthening El Niño weather system, which could turn out to be among the strongest of the last 60 years. While the consequences are practically impossible to mitigate from a technological standpoint, the effects are being exacerbated by bad environmental management practices, says Julián Palacios, executive director of Latinports. In a report assessing the challenges of climate change, the World Bank said that a 20cm rise in sea levels by 2050 could impact 22 of Latin America and the Caribbean's largest coastal cities, creating annual losses of US$940mn. A 40cm rise would lead to US$1.2bn/y in losses. Among industry challenges, the report positions that in a scenario of increased tropical storm activity, port downtime for ships would rise, resulting in higher shipping costs. With its low-lying geography and dependence on coastal and maritime activities, the Caribbean would be especially hit hard, as storm and infrastructure damages from tropical cyclones could reach a total of up to US$22bn by 2050 in a scenario of rising sea temperatures, the World Bank said. Julián Palacios will moderate a presentation on Colombia's Magdalena navigability project at BNamericas' 9th South America Infrastructure & Energy Summit to be held in Bogotá on September 9-10.

  • Graña y Montero eyeing M&A expansion strategy for services

    Peruvian engineering and infrastructure holding Graña y Montero is eyeing organic and inorganic opportunities to extend the presence of its IT services business in Colombia, as part of its goal to become the leader in infrastructure services in the Andean region, the company's corporate manager of services Jaime Dasso told BNamericas. The company is in the process of completing its fourth acquisition in Chile in as many years. In June, Graña y Montero signed an agreement to buy a 44% stake in Chilean systems integrator Adexus, which will be fully merged with Graña y Montero's IT services unit GMD next year. In 2013, Graña y Montero spent US$41mn to acquire DSD Construcciones y Montajes, a company specialized in electromechanics and structures and services for the energy, oil & gas, wood pulp and mining sectors. A year earlier the company acquired 80% of mining construction company Vial y Vives, and in 2011, Graña y Montero acquired Compañía Americana de Multiservicios (CAM), a company that offers engineering, operation and maintenance services for utilities. Now the focus is on strengthening the ICT services sector to complete a vision of offering end-to-end infrastructure services. Adexus was a good fit because it is strongly positioned in the mining, transport and financial services sectors, and also has a presence in various countries on the Pacific Ocean. "Adexus has a client-oriented culture that aims to exceed expectations and add value to society. That culture is very much in line with ours. It also has a vision of being a regional leader in services," Dasso said, speaking on the sidelines of the Adexus Day event in Santiago. "The next step will be to grow in Colombia via GMD, which could be either organically or inorganically," Dasso added. COMPLEMENTARY The executive said that GMD and Adexus are complementary in terms of the services they offer and their geographical coverage. Adexus is strong in solutions integration for mobility, cloud computing, communications and big data. GMD's strengths are in outsourcing of applications, data center services and business process outsourcing (BPO), for example managing billing for water meters. The verticals that the joint company will go after include mining, energy, highways, healthcare and telecommunications, as well as banking and financial services. MACRO ECONOMY With respect to the economic turbulence and depreciation of Latin American currencies against the US dollar, Dasso said that in periods of low growth companies tend to seek to reduce costs and improve efficiency, which can often be beneficial for companies that provide technology. "On one hand we see projects being put on hold until there is greater visibility of the macro environment. But we also see the beginning of projects for greater efficiency, cost reduction, safety in mines, reduction of waiting times at ports etc."

  • Brazil's Lula opens door to presidential return

    Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Friday he could run again for office in 2018 to prevent an opposition victory. In an interview with local radio station Itatiaia, Lula admitted the ruling Workers' Party had "made mistakes" amid a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras and a deepening economic crisis. "I can't say that I am or I'm not [a candidate]. To be sincere, I hope other people can be candidates," said Lula, who handpicked current President Dilma Rousseff as his successor in 2010. "One thing is certain, if the opposition thinks it will win, that there will be no competition and the Workers' Party is finished, it can be certain of this: if necessary, I will run again and work so that the opposition doesn't win the election." Brazil officially entered recession on Friday after figures showed the country's economy shrank by 1.9% in the second quarter compared to the first. Rising unemployment, the prospect of double-digit inflation and the government's perceived inability to curb corruption have hit Rousseff's popularity and led to calls for her impeachment. Opinion polls place Rousseff's approval rating below 10%, the lowest of any president since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985. Lula remains a popular figure in Brazil, having overseen strong economic growth and a sharp decline in poverty during his two terms as president. The 69-year-old said Rousseff, re-elected last year after a tight runoff vote, herself accepted the government had made errors. "Of course there have been mistakes. If we hadn't made mistakes in the past we wouldn't be where we are today," he said. "Dilma recognizes that there have been mistakes. I think we have made some mistakes in terms of the economy, which Dilma tried to fix with fiscal adjustments. We can only spend what we have." Lula denied any knowledge of the multibillion-dollar Petrobras corruption scheme during his presidency. "I would like to have known about it before. I didn't know about it, the federal police didn't know about it, the press didn't know about, the public prosecutor's office didn't know about it, the Petrobras board didn't know about it," Lula said. "People only knew about it when phone tapping caught [black market currency trader Alberto] Youssef, who already had a long history with the police," he added.

  • IFT, SCT delay shared network project

    Mexico's communications ministry (SCT) and telecom regulator IFT have announced a delay in the publication of the requirements for the concession of the shared network. IFT said in a press release that the general requirements, published on July 17, attracted such a number of comments and suggestions, and both the institution and the ministry need more time to sift through them and take them into consideration when putting together the tender. The tender will be announced within the next few weeks, although no specific date has yet been given. It will include details on design, financing, operation and commercialization. The shared network, which will use the 700MHz band and provide telecommunications services, will increase internet penetration in the country, especially among people below the poverty line, in addition to driving development of the country's economy, educational services, human rights and government. SCT announced the creation of the shared telecom network in May, and it was defended by deputy minister Mónica Aspe, as the idea was the focus of criticism due to its planned use of the 700MHz band, which has been identified as a key element for development of 4G LTE services. The shared network attracted 37 bids to build and run the US$10bn network, including Alestra, Axtel,Totalplay,Telefónica, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson and Nokia. Over half (54%) are Mexican companies, with the rest from other North American countries (23%), Europe & MENA (13%) and Asia-Pacific (5%).

  • SPOTLIGHT: Getting prepared for the Internet of Threats

    The world could be in serious trouble by 2025 if nations, and the private and public sectors don't cooperate to take measures to address the looming threat of cyber crime, according to Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and founder of Russian cyber security firm that bears his name. Addressing journalists and analysts in Santiago, Chile, the enigmatic security expert painted a fairly bleak outlook for the future of humanity, saying that cyber crime for financial gain, espionage and sabotage are the three top categories of IT security threats facing society today, with the latter as the most serious because the main aim is to kill and destroy. "We need to build our infrastructure to be ready for the next type of threats," Kaspersky said, adding that typical antivirus technology has been obsolete since the early 2000s. With the furious pace of adoption of mobile technologies and e-commerce, and the feckless way in which consumers give up their personal information, it has become a field day for all types of cyber criminals eager to pick the low hanging fruit. The year 2011 was a key year in cyber crime, according to Kaspersky, because that is when internet banking really took off. VULNERABLE OPERATING SYSTEMS According to Kaspersky Lab research, the Windows operating system continues to be the largest focus of attack, given that it is the most widespread on PCs - with 5% of PCs infected globally. On mobile devices, the Android OS is the most attacked for the same reason. Kaspersky has identified 237mn unique malicious files for Windows compared to 13mn for Android, 12,000 for Mac OS and only 283 for iOS. Attacks on the Macintosh and iOS operating systems are still relatively tame, but only because as those operating systems account for less than 10% of the market, and engineers with the expertise to hack those systems are few and far between and don't come cheap. Exploit kits for iOS - the toolkit available for purchase for targeting browsers and programs to steal information - can cost US$250,000 compared to US$5,000 for a widely-used OS, according to Santiago Pontiroli, security analyst with Kaspersky Lab. However, with the evolution of connected homes and the internet of things (IoT), smart connected TVs could be the next OS for hackers given that the trend is heading towards online purchases at the click of a button. "I wouldn't be surprised if TV remote controls start coming with a "buy" button, Kaspersky said. And as everything in the home becomes connected, from security cameras to digital door locks, cars and other devices, cyber criminals will be able to begin collecting useful information that could potentially allow physical robberies. According to Kaspersky Lab, the Windows OS is still the most attacked (CREDIT: BNamericas) AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM Attacks are going international, hitting bigger targets, and becoming a major business, Kaspsersky said, adding that highly organized firms offer cyber crime as a service (CaaS) to attack high profile personalities or countries or companies for a fee. According to Kaspersky, Mexican drug cartels have been identified hacking into customs systems in Antwerp, Belgium so they can safely unload containers full of drugs without inspection. In Russia, tons of grain have been stolen by hackers and gasoline has been stolen from gas stations. "We have to be ready to investigate, to understand the logic of the attacks. The traditional police don't understand cyber crime. "Espionage does exist and will exist. More nations will join the game. Today most malware is in English or broken English. Now we're seeing it in Spanish, French, Korean. "We need to add security to power grids, urban infrastructure, telecommunications, financial services, medical services." The way to address the problem is through greater education of the average user, greater collaboration with law enforcement both locally and internationally. Kaspersky said that for a long time he has called for cyber crime laws, international agreements and collaboration and even a sort of "Geneva Convention" of cyber space to be respected in wars. It's very hard to find high-level security engineers. We need more brains and hands to save the world. Please invest more in IT security education. It's not expensive. It's just education," he said. Traditional crime is going cyber, says Eugene Kaspersky (CREDIT: BNamericas)

  • Moody's revises down G20 growth forecast

    Moody's now expects GDP growth in G20 countries to come in at 2.8% in 2016, down from 3.1% previously. The impact of China's economic slowdown and its effect on commodities prices were cited as the main reason behind the revision. China's GDP growth was also adjusted downward to 6.3% from the previous 6.5% as the slowdown in exports, investment and employment signal a "more marked and broadly based deceleration in the Chinese economy than previously expected," the rating agency said in a statement. Current measures by the Chinese government to support its economy will only partly offset the slowdown. Brazil's GDP growth was adjusted downwards to a contraction of 1.0% from the previous 0%, extending the current recession into 2016. The fall in commodities' prices only exacerbated the already unfavorable domestic economic environment in the country, according to Moody's. Argentina and Mexico are the only other G20 countries in Latin America.

  • Brazil's Infraero to sell airport concession stakes

    Brazil's national airport authority Infraero is planning to sell some of its public-private partnership shares in five international airport concessions. Approximately 10% of the authority's stakes in the airports of Brasília, Confins (Minas Gerais state), Guarulhos and Viracopos (São Paulo state), and Galeão (Rio de Janeiro) will be sold, according to a proposal cited by local paper Folha de São Paulo. "Banco do Brasil has completed a study and planning minister Nelson Barbosa has already approved it. It is perfectly viable," civil aviation minister Eliseu Padilha was quoted as saying by the newspaper, adding that it has yet to be submitted to President Dilma Rousseff for review. The objective is to boost Infraero's revenue for 2016, when the stakes would be sold, Padilha said, without disclosing how much the airport authority expects to make from the deal. Infraero currently holds 49% of the special purpose companies created to manage the five airports. The company is expected to lose about 450mn reais this year. In 2012, before the concession of the airports, Infraero posted a 1bn-real profit.

  • Brazil's Infraero to sell airport concession stakes

    Brazil's national airport authority Infraero is planning to sell some of its public-private partnership shares in five international airport concessions. Approximately 10% of the authority's stakes in the airports of Brasília, Confins (Minas Gerais state), Guarulhos and Viracopos (São Paulo), and Galeão (Rio de Janeiro) will be sold, according to a proposal cited by local paper Folha de São Paulo. "Banco do Brasil has completed a study and planning minister Nelson Barbosa has already approved it – it is perfectly viable," civil aviation minister Eliseu Padilha was quoted as saying by the newspaper, which said the proposal has not yet been submitted to President Dilma Rousseff for review. The objective is to boost Infraero's revenue for 2016, when the stakes would be sold, Padilha said, without disclosing how much the airport authority expects to make from the deal. Galeão airport, Rio de Janeiro CREDIT (Infraero). Infraero currently holds 49% of the special purpose companies created to manage the five airports. The company is expected to lose about 450mn reais this year. In 2012, before the concession of the airports, Infraero posted a 1bn-real profit.

  • Brazil's Lula opens door to presidential return

    Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Friday he could run again for office in 2018 to prevent an opposition victory. In an interview with local radio station Itatiaia, Lula admitted the ruling Workers' Party had "made mistakes" amid a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras and a deepening economic crisis. "I can't say that I am or I'm not [a candidate]. To be sincere, I hope other people can be candidates," said Lula, who handpicked current President Dilma Rousseff as his successor in 2010. "One thing is certain, if the opposition thinks it will win, that there will be no competition and the Workers' Party is finished, it can be certain of this: if necessary, I will run again and work so that the opposition doesn't win the election." Brazil officially entered recession on Friday after figures showed the country's economy shrank by 1.9% in the second quarter compared to the first. Rising unemployment, the prospect of double-digit inflation and the government's perceived inability to curb corruption have hit Rousseff's popularity and led to calls for her impeachment. Opinion polls place Rousseff's approval rating below 10%, the lowest of any president since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985. Lula remains a popular figure in Brazil, having overseen strong economic growth and a sharp decline in poverty during his two terms as president. The 69-year-old said Rousseff, re-elected last year after a tight runoff vote, herself accepted the government had made errors. "Of course there have been mistakes. If we hadn't made mistakes in the past we wouldn't be where we are today," he said. "Dilma recognizes that there have been mistakes. I think we have made some mistakes in terms of the economy, which Dilma tried to fix with fiscal adjustments. We can only spend what we have." Lula denied any knowledge of the multibillion-dollar Petrobras corruption scheme during his presidency. "I would like to have known about it before. I didn't know about it, the federal police didn't know about it, the press didn't know about, the public prosecutor's office didn't know about it, the Petrobras board didn't know about it," Lula said. "People only knew about it when phone tapping caught [black market currency trader Alberto] Youssef, who already had a long history with the police," he added.

  • Colombia's PIV ramping up Bahía terminal

    Pacific Infrastructure Ventures' (PIV) US$585mn Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Bahía terminal in Colombia's Cartagena aims to receive 20 ships a month in its first phase of operations, a senior company official said. The 220,000b/d oil terminal seeks to become the country's largest port for general cargo such as vehicles, machinery and grains in a second stage, PIV CEO Juan Ricardo Noero said. The terminal, which dredged the Bocachica access canal to a depth of 20.5m, can receive 150,000t tankers with capacity for 1Mbbl crude. "Puerto Bahía is setting competitiveness milestones by receiving these ships. This helps cut down shipping costs," Noero told newspaper Portafolio. "There's a need for greater port capacity in the Caribbean." The 140ha import-export bay will have an initial storage capacity of 3.3Mb crude and hydrocarbon products, and handle output from companies including Shell and PIV shareholder Pacific Exploration & Production, according to Noero. World Bank division IFC is also a shareholder in PIV. The company is currently more than doubling the length of its 300m general cargo pier to 650m, and may add 27ha of space to the terminal's currently-implemented 16ha, he said. Bahía will be the country's largest oil terminal after Ecopetrol's Coveñas facility, Noero said. Government contracts awarded for the Ruta del Sol road and highway concessions known as 4G will help improve connectivity with the country's northern ports. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos has lined up 19 port projects totaling US$1.258bn in investment to handle Colombia's growing exports of crude oil, minerals and agricultural produce. Projects include the Urabá port in Antioquia, a Promigas facility on the Caribbean coast, the Gulf of Morrosquillo grain terminal and Puerto Solo in Buenaventura. Private investment in Colombia's highways, ports and railways grew 24% to almost 4.6tn pesos (US$1.76bn) since 2014, according to figures from national infrastructure agency ANI.

  • Graña y Montero eyeing M&A expansion strategy for services

    Peruvian engineering and infrastructure holding Graña y Montero is eyeing organic and inorganic opportunities to extend the presence of its IT services business in Colombia, as part of its goal to become the leader in infrastructure services in the Andean region, the company's corporate manager of services Jaime Dasso told BNamericas. The company is in the process of completing its fourth acquisition in Chile in as many years. In June, Graña y Montero signed an agreement to buy a 44% stake in Chilean systems integrator Adexus, which will be fully merged with Graña y Montero's IT services unit GMD next year. In 2013, Graña y Montero spent US$41mn to acquire DSD Construcciones y Montajes, a company specialized in electromechanics and structures and services for the energy, oil & gas, wood pulp and mining sectors. A year earlier the company acquired 80% of mining construction company Vial y Vives, and in 2011, Graña y Montero acquired Compañía Americana de Multiservicios (CAM), a company that offers engineering, operation and maintenance services for utilities. Now the focus is on strengthening the ICT services sector to complete a vision of offering end-to-end infrastructure services. Adexus was a good fit because it is strongly positioned in the mining, transport and financial services sectors, and also has a presence in various countries on the Pacific Ocean. "Adexus has a client-oriented culture that aims to exceed expectations and add value to society. That culture is very much in line with ours. It also has a vision of being a regional leader in services," Dasso said, speaking on the sidelines of the Adexus Day event in Santiago. "The next step will be to grow in Colombia via GMD, which could be either organically or inorganically," Dasso added. COMPLEMENTARY The executive said that GMD and Adexus are complementary in terms of the services they offer and their geographical coverage. Adexus is strong in solutions integration for mobility, cloud computing, communications and big data. GMD's strengths are in outsourcing of applications, data center services and business process outsourcing (BPO), for example managing billing for water meters. The verticals that the joint company will go after include mining, energy, highways, healthcare and telecommunications, as well as banking and financial services. MACRO ECONOMY With respect to the economic turbulence and depreciation of Latin American currencies against the US dollar, Dasso said that in periods of low growth companies tend to seek to reduce costs and improve efficiency, which can often be beneficial for companies that provide technology. "On one hand we see projects being put on hold until there is greater visibility of the macro environment. But we also see the beginning of projects for greater efficiency, cost reduction, safety in mines, reduction of waiting times at ports etc."

  • Brazil enters technical recession

    Brazil entered into a technical recession in the second quarter, as its gross domestic product sank 1.9% from the previous three months, according to statistics bureau IBGE. The median estimate of market analysts was a 1.7% contraction. It was the worst result for any quarter since 1Q09, when GDP contracted 2.2%, and the worst Q2 performance since 1996. Compared with the second quarter last year, the decline was 2.6%. In the first half, the decrease was 2.1%, and in 12 months, -1.2%. The biggest drop came in the industrial sector, which fell 4.3% compared to the same period last year. The agriculture sector receded 2.7% and the services sector fell 0.7%. Government consumption grew 0.7%. The construction industry was hit the hardest by the industrial sector's decline and dropped 8.4% compared to the first quarter, while the processing industry decreased 3.7%. The construction and processing industries together account for 75% of Brazil's industrial volume. Exports of goods and services increased 3.4% in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year, while imports fell 8.8%. Household spending fell 2.1% from the previous quarter. Last year, Brazil entered a technical recession in the first half.

  • Brazil GDP contraction: ICT services drop 1.3% in 2Q15

    Information services, a basket of activities including telecommunication, TV activities, radio and cinema, newspapers, books and magazine publishing, computers and other ICT-related services, shrank by 1.3% in Brazil in 2Q15 compared to the first three months of the year. The decrease contributed to a 1.9% quarter-on-quarter contraction in Brazil's GDP for the period. On a year-over-year basis, the country's GDP was down 2.9% for the second quarter. The GDP figures, which confirm that the country has technically entered recession, were released this Friday by statistics bureau IBGE. On a year-on-year basis, information services increased 0.5% in 2Q15, reaching 42.1bn reais (US$11.7bn). This represents nearly 3% of the country's GDP of 1.42tn reais in the quarter at constant currency terms. In the first quarter of this year information services generated 42.91bn reais.

  • Americas Petrogas bids adieu to Argentine unit

    Canadian oil and gas company Americas Petrogas completed the sale of one of its two Argentina subsidiaries to E&P firm Tecpetrol for US$59.8mn. The transaction, which was unpopular with some Americas Petrogas shareholders, "strengthens the company's balance sheet and will allow Americas Petrogas to implement a new sustainable business plan," CEO Barclay Hambrook said in a statement. The subsidiary, Americas Petrogas Argentina, produced 163m3 (1,025b)/d of oil and 2.24Mm3/d of natural gas in July, according to data from Argentina's energy department. Americas Petrogas will retain ownership of subsidiary Energicon, which holds ownership stakes in five E&P properties in Argentina's Neuquén basin. "Management is pleased to conclude this transaction with Tecpetrol after a long and extensive strategic process," said Hambrook, who made no mention of an explosion on Thursday at a Tecpetrol-operated oilfield in Argentina's Chubut province that left one person dead and three injured. The accident occurred during maintenance at the El Tordillo field near the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, according to news sources.

  • Tokio Marine sees profit surge in H1

    The Brazilian unit of Japan's Tokio Marine saw earnings grow 13.5% to 74.3mn reais (US$20.7mn) in the first half. The company registered a 22% increase in premiums sold in H1, with net revenue of 1.89bn reais. The insurer also managed to reduce sales expenses by 0.9 percentage points compared with 1H14 (18.7% versus 19.6%). As of June 30, the company's net worth was 1.02bn reais compared with 915mn reais in December. For three consecutive years, Tokio Marine's auto portfolio has had the highest growth in the Brazilian market, and its good performance continued in the first half of 2015, outperforming the market with 26.8% growth vs 5.5%. Currently, the company is in seventh place in the sector's national ranking, according to local media reports.

  • Brazil watch: New Vestas chief, grid growth, Angra 1 back online

    Danish wind energy developer Vestas has announced the appointment of Rogério Zampronha as the company's new general manager in Brazil. Zampronha, who previously worked with Schneider Electric Brasil, will focus on opening Vestas' new equipment factory in Ceará state by the end of the year, the company said. ** Brazil brought online 651MW of installed generation capacity in July, the mining and energy ministry said on Friday. Some 3.60GW has been added to Brazil's power grid this year, taking the country's total capacity to 138GW, the ministry said in a statement. ** Brazil's 657MW Angra 1 nuclear power plant is operational again after being shut down because of a technical problem, according to operator Eletronuclear. Output from the facility was halted on Wednesday following a cooling problem caused by a faulty valve, the company said.

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