Ecuador has fired the gun on a year of voting across much of Latin America as the first round of the Presidential elections got underway this weekend. Arauz took an expected lead in early counting but the big surprise was how close the battle for second is between Pérez and Lasso. At the time of writing the count is still ongoing and very close.
In this issue, we also take a look at Bolivia’s worrying economic outlook as sources of national income are in decline and President Arce made manifesto promises to increase public expenditure. Proposed wealth taxes will raise little money while scaring private investment and Arce’s recovery driven by domestic consumption seems not only contradictory but also unlikely to be successful.
In other news, we continue to monitor the growth of hemp-based exports from Latin America and the legalisation of marijuana elsewhere that could lead to further growth of the sector. In parallel, cigarette sales are declining dramatically across the region and regulators are grappling with next generation products.
Looking forward, next week will be an ‘ESG Special’ where we focus all our coverage on one of the major themes that is driving investor sentiment and opportunity across Latin America.