Argentina’s current account deficit widened 7.9% to 5.07 billion dollars in 2014 as Latin America’s third-biggest economy eked out meager 0.5% growth, official data showed. Exports fell 11.9% from 2013 to 71.94bn, hurt by low international prices for Argentine soy, wheat and corn as well as weakened demand in key trading partner Brazil, where economic growth is also stagnant.
Prosecutors who uncovered Brazil's biggest corruption case called for tougher prison sentences and more legal powers to crack down on rampant graft that costs taxpayers more than the annual budget for education and health.
President Cristina Fernandez warned on Friday that banks operating in Argentina must obey its laws, amid a row over Citibank's refusal to defy a US court order blocking Buenos Aires from repaying its restructured debt. At the end of the month, 31 March, Citibank as custodial has to pay Argentine restructured bonds.
HSBC is closing accounts on Jersey belonging to customers living in the UK. It is part of a move by UK banks carrying out checks on the identity and addresses of thousands of their customers on the Channel Islands. The London-based bank said it had taken measures to prevent its services being misused.
No end to Brazil's economic woes: the Brazilian currency depreciated 2.7% on Thursday, at 3.30 Reales to the US dollar, its worst performance since April 2003. With this loss of ground the Real cut short a three day recovery, because since last Monday it had been climbing against the greenback.
Argentina will move forward with its investigation of the HSBC offshore accounts in Switzerland, and will make public the names of those Argentine citizens and organizations that held money overseas in the financial entity, allegedly with the purpose of eluding local taxes.
Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof has revealed the government sent a letter to Citigroup asking how the bank will react, after New York district judge Thomas Griesa decided not to kill an injunction that blocked Citi from processing interest payments on 2.3 billion dollars of Argentina bonds, under Argentine law.
The U.S. Federal Reserve says it can no longer remain patient about changing rates, an indication that interest rate hikes could begin this spring. But in a news conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen said the central bank has not settled on the timing of the rate hike.
Following a request from Venezuela, the Brazilian government has acted alongside Brazilian companies to guarantee supply of basic products during Venezuela's economic crisis, according to diplomatic sources. The request was made by President Nicolas Maduro in at least two meetings with President Dilma Rousseff, in December 2014 and the day after Rousseff began her second term, on January 2.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to hold talks with her growing number of critics and said her embattled government needed to show humility, after the Sunday massive protests erupted across the country.