Americas August 2005

Posted by Scriptaty | 7:44 PM

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a trade agreement with six South American countries — Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — that will eliminate tariffs on U.S. exports to those countries. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) passed by a slim 217-215 margin, and U.S. President George Bush has previously said he will sign the bill.

  • Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, its lowest level in five years, as gains in full-time jobs among adult women and strength in construction employment fueled the fallback. The rate is .7 percent lower than in June 2004.

  • Canada’s June GDP was 0.3 percent higher than the May totals, surprising economists who predicted a 0.1-percent growth. According to Statistics Canada, the gain was attributed to greater exploration in the energy sector and more investment-related production.

  • Brazil’s June unemployment rate fell 0.6 percent from May to 10.2, its biggest drop of the year. That number is also 2 percent lower than June 2004. Mining and quarrying, manufacturing, and public services provided 101,000 new jobs.

  • Minutes of the Brazilian central bank’s previous meeting indicate the bank will not adjust interest rates until it is convinced the country’s inflation has subsided. Brazil’s Selic, the overnight lending rate, remained at 19.75 percent after nine months of rate increases designed to curb inflation.

  • Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner told citizens Argentina would pay the International Monetary Fund $14 billion to loosen sanctions the IMF currently has on the country. The country has restructured a payment plan for the more than $100 billion it owes, although economists say Kirchner’s plan is pure rhetoric, as Argentina does not have that kind of money.