Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

AUDIO-Surprised by US intervention in credit crisis

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ruben_iparraguirre.jpgRuben Iparraguirre, Chief Financial Officer at Banco Patagonia in Argentina, expressed his surprise over the U.S. government’s intervention to keep the credit crunch contained.

 During an interview for the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Iparraguirre said the degree of U.S. activism was unexpected.

“We are surprised that the United States, which pushes free markets so much, has intervened so much now, that it’s done what it’s doing to save debtors who took on extremely expensive and risky mortgages, to save banks who loaned to those debtors, and to save the packagers who took those mortgages and resold them and designed them as junior, junior, junior bonds”.

Audio – Mexico may need new tax reform over long term

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finmin.jpgAs Mexico’s oil production gradually declines from peaks in 2004, future governments may need to come up with new ways to tax more products, like food or medicine, to keep healthy coffers, Deputy Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
   Revenues from state oil firm Pemex currently bring government revenue to 20 percent of gross domestic product.

Audio – Copper still the new gold

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Grupo Mexico’s Chief Financial Officer Daniel Muniz and Vice President of International Relations Juan Rebolledo sat down with Reuters during the Third Latin America Investment Summit to talk about the company’s struggle with blokades and strikes, which have hurt production at its key Cananea pit, and their hopes for a quick solution.
   They also share their long-term expectations that prices of the red metal should stay high, betting global inventories will remain tight.

Audio – Baby steps for FO network, PLC in Mexico

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cfe.jpgNew technologies that enable a wider distribution of basic communications in Mexico are taking longer than expected to take off amid struggles between companies interested in accessing cheaper networks and high launch costs.
   A vast fiber optic network owned by Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), good for transporting data all across the country,  is currently used by just a handful of telephone firms seeking to bypass what they often criticize as very high fees from the dominant fixed-line phone company.
   CFE’s chief Alfredo Elias Ayub told Reuters said during the Third Latin America Investment Summit that in a couple of months there could be news about fiber optic rentals to new companies.
    He also shared his views about why power line communications, which carry information over the powerline, are stalled due to the high price of modems and the lack of sufficient research in countries like Mexico.

Audio – Against the odds, Mexico’s economy still growing

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ortiz.jpgMany thought that with a sick neighbor, Mexico should have caught the blues already, right? Wrong. The Mexican economy looks like it is still growing at a good pace while its No. 1 trade partner, the United States, sails through choppy waters. 
   Central Bank Gov. Guillermo Ortiz told Reuters in an interview during the Third Latin America Summit that recent consumption, investment, industrial output and export data showed Mexico’s economic health appears sound, but inflation remains a concern.
   With Mexico’s average consumer prices currently hovering above the central bank’s comfort zone, Ortiz maintained expectations that inflation could range between 4 and 4.50 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Audio – Mexico’s anti-trust eyes Televisa cable acquisition

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cofeco.jpg Mexico’s lax regulation has encouraged the unabashed growth of monopolies in the last few decades, ranging from telecommunications to beer empires. Cable television is no stranger to conflict as Televisa, the world’s biggest producer of Spanish-language content, sets its eyes on triple play amid cries from smaller rivals struggling to keep afloat.
   Eduardo Perez Motta, the head of Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission, sat down with Reuters during the Third Latin America Investment Summit to talk about a much-expected decision on a Televisa acquisition that would give the broadcaster a key push in the triple play market, where companies can offer cable TV, Internet and phone services using a single broadband link.
    Perez Motta set a series of requirements that Televisa should meet, including sharing its content with rivals, if it wants to buy a 49 percent stake in Cablemas, one of the biggest cable companies in Mexico.

AUDIO-US taking big steps to fight against credit crisis

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Jose Luis Machinea, head of the U.N. Latin American Economic Comission (ECLAC), is confident the US won’t suffer a profund economic crisis from the credit crunch. 

Recent measures taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve to ensure bank liquidity and lower interest rates show the government has learned from a previous comparable crisis, the Great Depression, Machinea says.

Welcome to the Latin American Investment Summit, 2008

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The Latin America Investment Summit, which will take place this week in over 16 cities in Latin America, the United States and Europe, will generate a series of exclusive interviews and articles from our team of expert reporters, as well as regular blog postings and online video, which will be immediately available only to Reuters clients during each summit.

As a region that can fuel millions of cars around the globe not only with its oil, but also with its crops, Latin America hosts two of the ten world’s biggest economies and moves billions of dollars every day in the equities, bonds and commodities markets.

Video – Latin America’s fiesta revs up

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Latin America is enjoying the benefits of a boom in commodities — pushing the price of everything from steel to oil to record levels.

Analysts point that, compared to 10 years ago, today many of the Latin American economies have better cash reserves, lower inflation and better growth. By how long will the party last?

Audio – Grillin’ Sara Lee on tortillas

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fraleigh.jpgSara Lee Corp is looking to new types of bread to expand and deepen its reach across parts of the United States.

Speaking at the Reuters Food Summit in Chicago, CJ Fraleigh, COO of the company’s North American business, said tortillas were one thing it is working on.

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