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COVID-19 and its effects in Latin America

Follow the main news about coronavirus and its impacts in Latin America

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  • May 30, 20 - 5:19 pm - LABS

    Unemployment in Colombia reached 19.8%, its highest rate in history

    In April, 5.3 million Colombian workers lost their jobs. The pandemic and preventive containment measures were more damaging to the labor market than it had been previously projected, reported La Republica.

    According to the the country’s National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), the national unemployment rate reached 19.3% in April, which meant an increase of 9.5 percentage points compared to April 2019, and highest figure in official records.

    Dane estimates that, of the 5.3 million unemployed in the country during April, 2.6 million were private employees and 1.7 million were self-employed. This scenario has a direct correlation with informality in Colombia.

  • May 29, 20 - 7:03 pm - LABS

    Brazil‘s GDP decreases by 1.5% in the first quarter

    Brazil‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased 1.5% in the first quarter of this year, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) seasonally adjusted data disclosed this Friday.

    Speaking in a live webinar event hosted by Valor Capital Group, the Brazilian Central Bank’s president Roberto Campos Neto said that the country’s economy will likely shrink by 5% or more in 2020–which would be a record annual downturn, according to Reuters.

    Read more about it.

  • May 29, 20 - 11:37 am - LABS

    E-commerce sales increased by 214% in Chile

    During the week of April 27 to May 2, online sales recorded a growth of 214% YoY in Chile. Meanwhile, considering the full month of April, e-commerce purchases increased by 150% compared to the same month of 2019, according to information from the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS), and first reported by Chilean media outlet Emol.

    Durable goods, including computers, household equipment, electronics, and food were the ones driving most part of sales. Clothing and footwear, which had recorded sharp falls during March, began a significant recovery process, due to the arrival of autumn and the decrease in average temperatures.

    Tourism and entertainment remained the most affected categories, with drops around 90% YoY during the last six weeks.

  • May 29, 20 - 11:14 am - LABS

    It will take six years to make up for job losses in Mexico during 2020

    The Mexican Institute for Industrial Development and Economic Growth (IDIC) estimated that it will take Mexico up to 6 years to replace the millions of lost jobs during COVID-19 pandemic, according to Milenio.

    The IDIC noted that of that 1,4 million jobs that will be lost represent almost 6 million Mexicans who will be affected. In a video conference, the director of the organization, José Luis de la Cruz pointed out that in an optimistic scenario, a fall of 4.6% of GDP is expected, while the most pessimistic scenarios forecast drop more than 8%.

    The unemployment due to COVID-19 is worldwide, but it hit Latin America harder. In Brazil, sectors that usually employ the most have never been more pessimistic. In May, nine of the 29 segments reached the lowest level in the survey series, carried out by the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry, according to O Globo. FGV, a Brazilian higher education institution and think tank, reports that in 2020 the average rate of unemployment in Brazil will be 14.9%, above the 9.7% registered 11 years, and above last year’s 11.9% rate.

    O Globo also reported that more than half of 100 countries in the world should end the year with higher unemployment than in the 2008 crisis. According to CNN, in the US, one in four Americans has applied for unemployment insurance. Requests placed since March total more than 40 million.

  • May 28, 20 - 5:23 pm - LABS

    Latin America accounts for 40% of daily deaths

    Now considered the new epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemicLatin America is now home to almost 40% of daily deaths in the worldAccording to Bloomberg, bad news comes from many corners of the region: Brazil has more cases than any country except the U.S. and deaths, currently at 25,000, could more than quadruple in coming months. Mexico had its largest single increase in both cases and deaths this week. Peru, Chile and Colombia have set daily records in the past week. Read more about it here.

  • May 28, 20 - 10:48 am - LABS

    Mexico’s central bank sees GDP falling by 8.8% in 2020

    Banxico, Mexico’s central bank, is predicting the country’s economy could contract by as much as 8.8% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Presenting its latest quarterly report, Banxico said a recovery was likely next year.

    Cautioning that forecasts were difficult to make during the pandemic, the bank gave three scenarios for the outbreak’s impact on Latin America’s second-largest economy. Depending on the severity of the recession, and whether the recovery is V-shaped or U-shaped, the bank forecast 2020 economic growth of between -8.8% and -4.6%.

    Mexico’s economy may suffer its biggest contraction in almost nine decades this year, with private sector analysts forecasting it will shrink by up to 10% or more, according to Reuters.

    Banxico also revised its inflation forecasts to a higher rate, in part due to a depreciation of the peso currency, which has fallen by almost 15% against the U.S. dollar since February.

  • May 28, 20 - 9:53 am - LABS

    Florida’s Disney parks submit plan to reopen in July

    Tourism is beginning to show rebounding signs in the United States. Disney World and other Florida theme parks announced their plans to reopen. Disney submitted a plan for Orlando’s authorities proposing a reopening schedule from July 11 onwards. The Disney World park designed solutions aiming to keep employees and visitors safe from spreading COVID-19.

    Disney receives a lot of tourists from Latin America. According to Orlando Sentinel, in 2018, officials from the tourism marketing agency announced that a record 75 million people visited Central Florida, an increase of 4.2% from the previous year. This included an 8.1% increase in visits from Brazilian tourists, to 893,000, one of the biggest international groups the parks receive, and a 13.4% increase in tourists from Mexico, to 382,000.

    “Pending Orange County and state approval, our Walt Disney World Resort proposal plans for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15″, said the company, in a blog post.

    According to Disney, parks will limit attendance and control guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. Certain experiences that draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date, according to Disney. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be at the parks to entertain guests.

    Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as we welcome guests back to the magic, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance

    the walt disney company, in a blog post

    At this time, Disney is temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations to focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations. Disney Vacation Club members, however, can still make new reservations).

  • May 27, 20 - 4:57 pm - LABS

    Brazil loses 860.5 thousand formal jobs in April, the worst month in history

    Brazil eliminated 860,503 formal jobs in April, according to data from the National Register of Employees and Unemployed (Caged), from the Labor Secretariat of the Ministry of Economy. The result is the difference between the hires (598,596), and the dismissals (1,459,099). The data were released this Wednesday.

    It is the worst result for April since the beginning of this historical series in 1992 and also the worst month in history, after December 2008.

    Companies simply stopped hiring

    Bruno Bianco Leal, Special Secretary for Social Security and Labor of the Brazilian Minitry of Economy.

    “Brazil is managing to preserve jobs, but not maintain the level of hiring “, he added, according to the newspaper Gazeta do Povo, referring to the 8.3 million jobs maintained by the program that allowed the suspension of the contract and / or the reduction of hours and wages

  • May 27, 20 - 2:26 pm - LABS

    Google’s plan to bring some of its employees back to the office

    After extending the home office by the end of the year to the vast majority of its employees, and talking about a permanent home office scheme for the future, Google said it should start bringing some of its employees back to the office from the 6th of July.

    The announcement was made by Google and Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai in a post on the company’s blog. “We are taking slow, deliberate steps to begin re-opening offices in areas where they still remain largely closed. We’re also investing more in your work-from-home setup to make sure you have what you need to be productive and comfortable,”said Pichai.

    He divided the timeframe for activities resumption in two phases:

    July 6th: Assuming external conditions allow, Google will start to open more buildings in more cities. “This will give Googlers who need to come back to the office—or, capacity permitting, who want to come back—the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis (think: one day every couple of weeks, so roughly 10 percent building occupancy). We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left”, explained Pichai.

    From September: (again, assuming conditions allow), we will further scale the rotation program, building over time to 30 percent capacity (which would mean most people who want to come in could do so on a limited basis, while still prioritizing those who need to come in). 

  • May 27, 20 - 2:01 pm - LABS

    Argentina has first protests against isolation measures, and Fernández “kirchnerizes” his speech

    On Monday, a holiday in Argentina, the Latin American country experienced its first protests against the isolation measures. In one of them, about 150 people gathered in the historic center of Buenos Aires to protest for the first time against the extent of the confinement, with which the government is trying to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. What could be seen as a result of natural anguish in a country that will complete 80 days in quarantine (until June 7th), ended up irritating President Alberto Fernandez

    Unidentified people with masks against covid19 in Bueno Aires
    Unidentified people doing long lines to get food and get into banks in a city under quarantine in La Matanza, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: shu2260/Shutterstock

    Clarín columnist and editor Eduardo Van Der Kooy wrote that, out of intolerance or irritation, the result of this is that the president has “Kirchnerized” his speech, defending the intervention of the State as a magical solution to any problem.

    According to Kooy, not all protests experienced on Monday, had the same focus. The mentioned small march towards Plaza de Mayo, according to him, had some components of anarchism. A caravan in Córdoba was actually a demonstration in favor of the doctors. And a small protest in Tigre, a city in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, “seemed to meet more genuine conditions: demand for work with defense of individual liberties”. Kooy said that neighbors had been intimidated to remain in their homes by a local police chief.

    “Alberto’s reformism also underwent some mutation. In symphony with what is usually the Kirchner story. Faced with any problem, the President brandishes state intervention as a magical solution. He brought it up in a strikingly paternal way when last Saturday he advised people to take shelter in their homes. Up to there the state hand would go, he promised. In addition to the meaning of the proposal, there would be the gap between the sayings and the facts. As never before during this pandemic, the State has been left naked in its ineffectiveness and impotence,” wrote Kooy.

    According to journalists and analysts, the president does not know how to deal with the population’s natural distress at the moment. “We already knew that questions about the economy irritated him, now we also know that he does not ignore the anguish. At times, in that kind of game of the good and bad police that the two Fernándezes make of power, the pluralist Fernández plays peace with kerosene in hand,” wrote Nicolás José Isola, from La Nacíon.

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