Latin Day Ahead: Gruma May Take on More Debt to Close Positions

Gruma SAB may take on more debt to close financial derivatives with four banks; Moody’s Investors Service made Chile the first investment-grade country to be awarded a higher credit rating in 2009; Emerging-market stocks recorded more 20 percent swings since October than during any other five-month period and Emerald Energy Plc abandoned its Jacinto No. 1 exploration well in Colombia after failing to find oil.

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Gruma May Reach Deal to Close Positions With RBS, Barclays: CFO

Gruma SAB, Mexico’s largest supplier of corn flour for tortillas, said it may “within days” take on more debt to close financial derivatives with four banks including Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group after it agreed to pay off loss- making currency positions.

Chile Slump Turns to Credit Upgrade on Savings From Copper Boom

Chile’s economy is shrinking, its exports plunging, unemployment climbing. That didn’t deter Moody’s Investors Service from making it the first investment-grade country to be awarded a higher credit rating this year.

Emerging-Market Swings Turn ‘Fast and Violent’: Chart of Day

Emerging-market stocks recorded more 20 percent swings since October than during any other five-month period, making it harder than ever for traders to make money predicting when prices will surge or tumble.

Emerald Energy Abandons Colombia’s Jacinto No. 1 Well

Emerald Energy Plc, a U.K. explorer in Latin America and the Middle East, abandoned its Jacinto No. 1 exploration well in the Jacaranda block of Colombia after failing to find oil.

MAIN COMPANIES:

Brazil

Perdigao SA (PRGA3 BS): Brazil’s biggest food company is not in talks with Sadia SA or any other company, Chief Executive Officer Jose Antonio do Prado Fay said yesterday. Perdigao rose 4.7 percent to 32.40 reais.

Chile

Cia. Cervecerias Unidas SA (CCU CC): Chile’s largest beer brewer registered a sale of bonds worth up to $182 million. The company may raise 5 million UF, Chile’s inflation-linked accounting unit, in bonds maturing within 10 years, it said in a prospectus. CCU rose 2.5 percent to 3,480 pesos.

Mexico

Coca-Cola Femsa SAB (KOFL MM): Latin America’s largest soft- drink producer said it will pay a dividend of 72.78 centavos a share from April 13. Coca-Cola Femsa gained 4.2 percent to 48.18 pesos.

Controladora Comercial Mexicana SAB (COMERUBC) : The retailer that defaulted on debts in October announced that it has reached an agreement with U.S. creditors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. to halt legal proceedings until April 3. Comercial Mexicana rose 6 percent to 3.72 pesos.

Peru

Credicorp Ltd. (BAP) : Peru has “maneuvering room” to conduct monetary policy, Central Bank President Julio Velarde told reporters at a conference in Mexico City. The bank, which cut its reference rate by a quarter percentage point in both February and March, will keep lowering rates if inflation meets the bank’s year-end 2 percent target, he added. Credicorp, Peru’s largest financial services company, rose 8.9 percent to $44.87.

LATIN AMERICAN MARKETS:

Brazil: Foreign direct investment fell to $1.8 billion last month from $1.93 billion in January, according to the median estimate of 14 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

The central bank will release the report at 9:30 a.m. New York time.

The real rose 1.2 percent to 2.2442 per dollar.

The yield on the zero-coupon, real-denominated bonds due in January 2010 rose three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 9.84 percent, according to Banco Votorantim.

Mexico: Fitch Ratings said the economy will shrink the most in the region this year and that it may downgrade the country’s credit rating “if we see the policy framework deteriorate in the face of external shocks.”

Mexico’s economy will contract 2.5 percent in 2009, Shelly Shetty, a senior director at Fitch, said yesterday during a conference call from New York.

The peso declined 0.8 percent to 14.2799 per dollar.

The yield on the country’s 10 percent bond due December 2024 dropped one basis point to 8.36 percent, according to Banco Santander SA.

Other prices in Latin American markets:

Argentina: The peso fell 0.8 percent to 3.6875 per dollar.

The yield on the country’s 5.83 percent dollar bonds due in December 2033 climbed 1.28 percentage points to 24.84 percent, according to Citigroup Inc.’s local unit.

Chile: The peso gained 1.2 percent to 577.25 per dollar.

The yield for a basket of Chile’s five-year, fixed-rate peso bonds was little changed at 3.82 percent, according to Bloomberg prices.

Colombia: The peso advanced 0.1 percent to 2,358.10 per dollar.

The yield on Colombia’s 11 percent bonds due in July 2020 slid two basis points to 9.40 percent, according to Colombia’s stock exchange.

Peru: The sol rose 0.2 percent to 3.1216 per dollar.

The yield on the 8.6 percent bond maturing in August 2017 was unchanged at 6.38 percent, according to Citigroup prices.

ECONOMIES: Brazil will publish its February current account and foreign direct investment; Mexico will publish bi-weekly consumer prices and February unemployment and Uruguay will publish fourth- quarter gross domestic product.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Price in London at lprice3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos in New York at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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