Mexico's Congress approved on Thursday early morning a historic energy reform aimed at luring foreign investment and ending the state's 75-year-old oil monopoly following a heated debate. After a marathon session that lasted nearly 24 hours, the lower house voted 353 to 134 for the legislation championed by President Enrique Peña Nieto, one day after it passed the Senate.
The US House of Representatives has approved a two-year federal budget bill in a strong showing of cross-party support, further avoiding the specter of another government shutdown. The measure, written by the Republican and Democratic heads of the House and Senate budget committees respectively, was approved by a 332-94 vote.
FAO’s latest forecast for world cereal production in 2013 has been revised upward marginally (2 million tons) since November to a new high of almost 2 500 million tons (including rice in milled terms), 8.4% more than last year and some 6% above the previous record in 2011. The latest revision mostly reflects adjustments to maize output estimates in the United States, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, which had become firmer towards the completion of the harvests.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 206.3 points in November 2013, almost unchanged from the revised value of 206.6 points in October, but 9.5 points (4.4%) below its November 2012 value. A sharp decline in sugar prices last month nearly offset the rise in oils. Cereals averaged slightly lower but meat and dairy values were stable.
Police protests and widespread looting in 19 of the 24 Argentine provinces has, in a few weeks, shattered expectations about the new cabinet of President Cristina Fernandez and a stabilization of the economy, since as can be anticipated government employees and unions will be demanding similar conditions as their blue uniformed colleagues to keep up to date with inflation, running at an annualized 26% according to the November reading.
A successful and well attended conference took place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on the 4th December 2013 to open up business links between the Falkland Islands and Scotland’s oil service business sector. This event was the second of the two planned events from the project known as FalkLink.
The commitment of the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK to continue to work together in partnership was underlined by Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds MP when he updated Parliament on the outcome of this year’s Joint Ministerial Council, which was attended by leaders from eleven OTs including the Falkland Islands.
The European Union has formally requested that the exchange of tariff proposals with Mercosur for the creation of a cooperation and free trade zone, originally scheduled for next week, be delayed until 2014. The message was received by the Brazilian delegation at the recent WTO Bali discussions.
Brazil's government food supply agency Conab forecast record soybean output of 90.03 million tons, near the top of its previous forecast of 87.9 million to 90.2 million tons, as farmers finish planting new fields.
Over 150 representatives of British companies and businesses attended the conference on the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico) organized by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Financial Times. The Alliance is considered one of the newest and most promising political and economic blocks is emerging from Latin America.