Raul's Feed
Jan 18, 2013
via Breakingviews

Review: Latin America needs more Uribes

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By Raul Gallegos
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Latin America needs more leaders like Alvaro Uribe. “No Lost Causes,” the former Colombian president’s account of his administration, may at times be self-serving. But it shows how he helped turn a war-torn Colombia from a near-failed state to a top investment destination. Uribe’s security gains remain frail, but his successes dwarf those of his leftist peers in Latin America.

Jan 10, 2013
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Venezuelan political folly is a cue for investors

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By Raul Gallegos
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The political folly in Venezuela is a cue for investors. Allies of ailing President Hugo Chavez seem to be taking even greater liberties interpreting the constitution than expected. There’s no inauguration, caretaker government or sign of a new election. If markets truly hate uncertainty, then animus toward Venezuela should be off the charts.

Dec 31, 2012
via Breakingviews

Latam can rely on masses for next phase of growth

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By Raul Gallegos

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Latin America can count on the masses for the next phase of growth. Though epitomized by a handful of people like the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, and showy political leaders spearheading the region’s commodity-led export economies, a burgeoning middle class will make its mark in 2013 powering Latin America’s future.

Dec 26, 2012
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Mexico may teach U.S. a lesson on good government

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By Raul Gallegos

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Mexico may teach the United States a lesson on good government in 2013. Latin America’s second-largest economy needs to enact key fiscal and energy sector reform. That might sound hard since its political parties have little history of working together. But they look set to reach a compromise with far less rancor than their counterparts north of the border.

Nov 19, 2012

Colombia brokerage fail more MF Global than Lehman

By Raul Gallegos

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The collapse of
Colombia’s largest brokerage evokes MF Global (MFGLQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research) more
than Lehman Brothers LEHMB.UL. Interbolsa’s ICB.CN rapid
demise is a tale of an ambitious firm with shoddy financing
felled by bad bets and a chronic lack of liquidity. Despite its
importance to the country’s financial markets, however, the
fallout shouldn’t be systemic.

Interbolsa handled a third of the daily activity in the
Bolsa de Valores de Colombia BVC.CN and was also a dealer in
its home country’s sovereign debt. But unless the dodgy funding
turns out to be more pervasive, absorbing the loss of such a big
player should be manageable. Interbolsa was leveraged at 18
times equity – higher than U.S. firms operate under, but not
worryingly so.

Sep 18, 2012

Brazil banks need better handle on consumer credit

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Raul Gallegos

NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Brazilian banks
need a better handle on consumer credit. The liquidation,
announced this week, of midsize lender Banco Cruzeiro do Sul
stems from fraud, but it specialized in loans to Brazil’s
burgeoning middle class. That group has grown so fast that the
credit record is about as short as it was for U.S. subprime
mortgages in 2008. The comparison is extreme, but it suggests
Brazil’s banks need both good data and a cautious approach to
lending.

Sep 6, 2012
via Breakingviews

Chavez’s cash pump PDVSA runs on empty

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By Raul Gallegos
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hugo Chavez’s cash pump, Petroleos de Venezuela, is running on empty. Venezuela’s troubled state oil group may now pay its suppliers with IOUs instead of cash. That’s hardly surprising given Chavez’s systematic squeezing of PDVSA to finance social spending, particularly ahead of elections set for Oct. 7. Harder to imagine is what happens when oil prices decline from today’s lofty heights.

Aug 14, 2012

Murdoch banks on U.S. Latinos going all-American

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Raul Gallegos

NEW YORK, Aug 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Rupert Murdoch is
banking on U.S. Latinos going all-American. News Corp’s (NWSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
new MundoFox, a Spanish-language joint venture with Colombia’s
RCN Television TRR.CN, should have little trouble piquing the
interest of America’s fastest-growing minority with the Latin
American country’s television soap operas. Throwing in
U.S.-style programs is the novelty – and could define how much
market share News Corp can grab.

Aug 2, 2012

Brazil’s Chevron ban straddles worst of two worlds

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Raul Gallegos

NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Brazil’s Chevron
(CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) ban straddles the worst of two worlds. Suspending the
U.S. oil giant’s local operations, and those of Transocean
(RIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research), over a minor spill keeps Latin America’s biggest
economy aligned with the likes of Argentina and Venezuela. Such
meddling won’t help Brazil revive flagging growth. At the same
time, the prosecutorial zeal involved with the case apes bad
practice from the developed world.

Jul 24, 2012

Brazil’s bank giants put prudence before politics

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)(Adds related columns.)

By Raul Gallegos

NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Brazil’s bank
giants are putting prudence before politics. Itau (ITUB4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) and
Bradesco (BBDC4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) are slowing consumer lending as loan
defaults climb. The move runs counter to the wishes of President
Dilma Rousseff, who is pressuring the nation’s banks to lend
more at rock-bottom rates. But with consumers and the broader
economy under pressure, a dose of financial conservatism is
welcome.

    • About Raul

      "Raul Gallegos is the Latin America financial columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. Raul has more than a decade of experience covering the region’s business, finance and economics. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times and Institutional Investor. From 2004 through 2009, Raul was the Venezuela-based oil correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires, and a member of the OPEC coverage team in Vienna. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University. He was a 2010 Knight-Bagehot Fellow at the Columbia Business School. ..."
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