Thursday, September 02, 2004

Strike at Southern: Reuters reports on the pay strike by 1,500 workers at Southern Peru Copper Corp. "which lifted copper futures in New York when it began, went into a second day on Wednesday with the two sides deadlocked and no talks scheduled," according to Clemente Trujillo, a union leader from the Toquepala mine. NOTE: Southern spokesman Guillermo Vidalon said, "There is no deal since the unions are violating the collective agreement that runs until 2007 ... there is absolutely no justification for the strike." ALSO: "There was no immediate comment from Peru's Labor Ministry." CLAIM: Trujillo said production had been cut to "more or less 30 or 40%" because Southern had brought in contract workers. DEMAND: Eleutorio Huamani, a Cuajone union representative, explained "Our main demand is a rise in salaries of 5.2 soles a day ... which would be 156 soles a month added onto the 2,000 soles gross that staff earn and the 1,650 soles average of other workers." An updated Reuters story says that the "workers will meet on Thursday to decide their strategy after the Labor Ministry declared their pay strike illegal," according to Elmer Gallegos, secretary general of the union at Southern's Cuajone pit. ALSO: "Labor Minister Javier Neves told Reuters the legal process required the strike to be formally declared illegal twice before the company could fire workers." NOTE: "Southern President Oscar Gonzalez ruled out any pay rise, saying the company had raised salaries by 29% over the past three years, four times the rate of inflation."

Las Bambas Effect: Times of London and the Independent report that the Las Bambas sale has driven up the price of shares in Monterrico Metals "to a new all-time high yesterday in a rumour-driven frenzy, bringing mixed blessings to two top Framlington fund managers."

Taxing Mining? Reuters reports that "oponents of a controversial mining royalty in Peru have collected the signatures needed to ask the country's top court to quash the tax and will start proceedings as soon as a pay strike in the judiciary is resolved," according to the Jose Miguel Morales of the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy, a group representing Peruvian mining companies. The SNMPE said "it had collected the 5,000 signatures needed for a ruling by the Constitutional Court, Peru's highest tribunal, which can declare the royalty illegal on constitutional grounds."

Camisea Work Gets More Resources: Dow Jones reports that Transportadora de Gas del Peru SA "signed a long-delayed contract with the Inter-American Development Bank for $75 million in a 14-year direct loan," for their work in the Camisea gas line, according to an IDB official. ("TGP has the 33-year downstream concession to transport natural gas from the Camisea project to Peru's coastal regions.") NOTE: "But given the success TGP has had in raising cash elsewhere, the IDB hasn't signed a contract for the previously approved backing of a $60 million syndicated loan, the so-called "B" tranche, the IDB spokesman said." ALSO: "Regional lender Andean Development Corp. said separately Monday that it signed a 14-year loan agreement for up to $75 million with TGP." ALSO 2: "Separately, TGP said it signed a 15-year contract to provide Empresa de Generacion Termoelectrica Ventanilla SA with 2.2 million cubic meters of gas a day."

LBerenson Previewed: The Washington Post offers a piece by Lucien Chavin on the Lori Berenson case reporting that "the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is expected to rule early this month on whether ... [she] received a fair trial under Peru's anti-terrorism laws." NOTE: "Government attorneys said they expected to lose the case, with a retrial ordered. Berenson, 35, imprisoned since November 1995, was accused of collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a small rebel group that is now defunct." ALSO: Unnamed "analysts said freeing Berenson would be political suicide for Toledo." CITED: Ms. Berenson in a "recent interview"; and Marcos Ibazeta, the judge who presided over Berenson's 2001 retrial.

Peruvian Wine: Reuters runs an updated version of its story on the wine industry (and includes at least one photograph) which includes Tacama, Tabernero, Santiago Queirolo and Ocucaje but tries to place the blame for contemporary problems on Velasco's nationalization efforts. CITED: Carlos Rubini's Ocucaje "which currently imports Chilean and Argentine grapes to make its wine, is planting grapes again"; Pedro Olaechea's Tacama, "one of the best-selling wines in Peru and perhaps the best known abroad and has so far focused on producing small batches of high-quality wines. ... Tacama's Gran Blanco white wine, rated by British wine writer Hugh Johnson as one of Peru's best, is a mix of Chenin, Semillon, Sauvignon and Ugni Blanc grapes, not the single grape variety often found in France." Tabernero's Francisco Rotondo and their "semi-sweet Borgona wine, which is proving very popular in the United States. The Borgona grape is a Peruvian specialty with a strawberry-like flavor that goes down well with people who are learning to drink wine, according to export manager Patrick Gubbins." FINALLY: "Experts say Peru is unlikely to ever challenge the $670 million-a-year wine export revenues of Chile because it has so few wines. Peru's total wine sales are $20 million today. 'The difference is that Chile has 200 good wines. Peru has just three or four,' said wine critic Cristina Vallarino, who buys wines for Peru's leading supermarket chain E. Wong."

New INEI #s: Reuters reports that "bucking a recent upward trend, Peru's consumer price index dipped 0.01% in August, helped by lower food and drink costs," according to INEI. NOTE: "Peru's CPI rose 0.19% in July this year and increased 0.01% in August of last year." A seprate Reuters piece details the new INEI numbers and reports that "output in Peru's agriculture and key mining sector fell again in July compared with a year earlier, but fishing production kept up its fast growth rate." ALSO: "Mining production, which generates half of Peru's exports, fell for the third straight month by 1.93% in July compared with the same month a year ago. ... But fishing output, a major foreign exchange earner for the Andean nation, jumped 58.76% in July, compared with a year earlier, INEI said, without explaining the surge."

Exporting Legally: Eye for Transport reports that "Exel has announced that its freight management office in Lima, Peru, has received official certification from the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition (BASC) - one of the first freight forwarding organisations in Latin America to receive this important certification." According Exel's station manager in Lima, Patricia Lema, “This important certification ensures that all of our customers' shipments from Peru into the United States comply with international security and commercial trade standards and procedures.” NOTE: "During 2003, Exel's freight management office in Lima managed approximately 195 tons of seafreight from the Port of Callao and 520 tons of airfreight shipments from Lima Airport to New York, Miami and Los Angeles, on behalf of its customers. While Exel works with organisations in multiple sectors throughout Peru, the majority of the company's operations are concentrated in the textile industry serving US-based businesses."

Number One Horse: Thoroughbred Times reports that Comando Intimo "was elected Peru’s 2003-2004 Southern Hemisphere season Horse of the Year, champion horse, and champion three-year-old male by the Asociacion de Criadores de Caballos de Carrera del Peru on August 26. Campaigned by Freddy Chirinos’s Stud El Castillo, Comando Intimo has won five of 13 starts over two seasons, including wins in the Clasico Alfredo Benavides y Alfredo Benavides Diez Canseco and Clasico Marina de Guerra del Peru."

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