LATAM Business Weekly - Issue #3
Venezuelan crisis: American diplomats to set up “interest offices” in Venezuela and U.S. imposes tight sanctions on Venezuelan oil
Last Thursday, Venezuela cut off diplomatic ties with the U.S. and ordered all American diplomats to exit the country within 72 hours. As the deadline approached on Saturday night, however, Venezuela’s foreign ministry announced plans to withdraw this expulsion order and allow 30 days to set up “interest offices” for diplomats in both the U.S. and Venezuela.
Wednesday’s episode of the Economist’s new podcast “The Intelligence” discusses the geopolitical and economic implications of the turmoil in Venezuela.
“On Monday, the U.S. imposed its tightest sanctions on Venezuela, basically cutting off U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil, which is their main source of income.”
JP Morgan Chase expanding to Mexico and Latin American markets
JP Morgan Chase & Co’s private bank announced goals of expansion into Mexico and other Latin American countries this year.
Reuters reported that according to Adam Tejpaul, a company executive, JP Morgan is planning on increasing frontline bankers in the region by 15%.
“Mexico has had a lot of wealth creation and the number of wealthy individuals has increased materially.“
The bank’s top priorities are Mexico, Columbia, and Argentina while servicing clients in Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela on a smaller scale.
Electric vehicle sales and production in Mexico rise in continuing response to Mexican fuel shortages
As rising prices on imported gasoline and fuel shortages throughout Mexico continue in response to President Lopez Obrador’s fuel policy, the country continues to look for a solution in alternative-fuel vehicles.
Mexican Automotive Industry Associationreports that
“Sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs rose 68% in the first 10 months of 2018, to nearly 14,000 vehicles.”
As the popularity of alternative fuel transportation rises, Mexico has made an entrance into the manufacturing of EVs. Last April, local startup Zacua began production of the first electric cars made in Mexico by a 100% Mexican-owned company at their plant in Puebla state.
According to Mexico News Daily, the 80-million-peso ($4.3-million USD) plant’s output is expected to double in its second year of production.
Meanwhile, Ford has announced the production of a new Mustang-inspired EV crossover which will be manufactured at the company’s Cuautitlán plant near Mexico City and is scheduled to hit the market by 2020.
Walmart Chile opens Lider Express in Santiago: first 100% self-service supermarket in Latin America
Walmart recently Chile debuted their first full self-service supermarket in Santiago, Chile.
Nicolás Undurraga, manager of Lider Express, said "This is the company’s first fully self-service store, not only in our country but among all the Walmart stores in Latin America, which keeps us at the forefront of the supermarket industry,” according to Invest Chile.
Lider Express has five self-checkout stations monitored by store personnel. According to company executives, Santiago is a crucial location with a diverse client base which will allow the company to monitor different consumer profiles.
“Our company is undergoing the greatest transformation of its history, and that is largely explained by the incorporation of technology and innovation as one of the main focuses.”
Importance of increasing cybersecurity in Latin America
Latin America’s rise in the global economy calls for drastic improvements in cybersecurity best practices.
According to Fair Observer,
“Latin America is scaling up its IT business, but it is careening down an alarming path in securing those networks that could potentially derail its economic gains.”
A cybersecurity report released in 2016 on Latin America’s preparedness reported that four out of five of the countries lack a cybersecurity strategy.
In the report, leaders of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States stressed the urgency of protecting “potentially devastating” vulnerabilities in the region.
Bolsonaro speaks of investment-friendly “New Brazil” at World Economic Forum
Newly elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro spoke of an investment-friendly “New Brazil” during his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last Tuesday. Bolsonaro took center stage in the absence of President Trump and British and French leaders, who opted out of attending the forum.
“Brazil’s economy is still relatively closed to foreign trade and to change that situation is one of my administration’s major commitments.”