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                     L A T I N   A M E R I C A

            Friday, October 6, 2017, Vol. 18, No. 199


                            Headlines



A R G E N T I N A

ARGENTINA: Poverty Rate Declined in First Half
CAPEX SA: S&P Affirms 'B' Local & Foreign Currency Ratings


B A R B A D O S

BARBADOS: Owes $14 Million in CDF Contributions


B R A Z I L

BRAZIL: Lets in Big Oil Firms After Keeping Them Out for a Decade
OI SA: $19 Billion Bankruptcy Worsens as CFO Quits Post


C A Y M A N  I S L A N D S

1776 AMERICAN: Sale of Reims' Houston Condo Units for $210K OK'd
1776 AMERICAN: Exclusive Plan Filing Deadline Moved to November 27
WORLD FINANCIAL: Appoints New Liquidators


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Wins Favorable Ruling in Suit v. Sun, et al.


E L  S A L V A D O R

REPUBLIC OF EL SALVADOR: S&P Cuts LT Currency Rating to 'SD'


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: Looking for Ways to Spur Productivity


M E X I C O

MEXICO: Runs Up $2.73 Billion August Trade Deficit
PESQUERA EXALMAR: S&P Affirms B- Corp Credit, Outlook Negative


P U E R T O    R I C O

BEBE STORES: Incurs $139 Million Net Loss in Fiscal 2017
PUERTO RICO: PREPA Disappointed by Rejection of $1-Bil. Loan Offer


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEZUELA: Pledges to Meet Debt Obligations Despite Sanctions


                            - - - - -



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A R G E N T I N A
=================


ARGENTINA: Poverty Rate Declined in First Half
----------------------------------------------
Taos Turner at The Wall Street Journal reports that the percentage
of Argentines living in poverty fell to 28.6% in the first half of
2017, indicating that President Mauricio Macri's economic policies
have begun benefiting lower-income families.

The figure reported by the statistics agency is down from 30.3% in
the second half of 2016 and 32.2% in the second quarter of that
year, when the government started formally measuring poverty,
according to The Wall Street Journal.

"The government's economic policies are working," said Martin
Gonzalez-Rozada, an economist at Torcuato Di Tella University, the
report notes.  "Reducing poverty is a long process and the
government is moving in the right direction."

Argentina's government stopped measuring poverty under Mr. Macri's
populist predecessor, Cristina Kirchner, the report recounts.
Still, Mrs. Kirchner claimed, without presenting any evidence,
that fewer than 5% of Argentines were poor.  Her economy minister
said measuring poverty was "stigmatizing" to poor people, the
report relays.

But independent research by the Catholic University of Argentina
indicated that poverty rose during each of Mrs. Kirchner's last
four years in office, ending at 29% in 2015, the report discloses.

Mr. Macri has made reducing poverty his priority, saying that if
he fails to do so his presidency would be a failure, the report
relays.

Immediately after taking office in December 2015, Mr. Macri
prescribed a series of painful economic measures, including a
steep currency devaluation that led prices to surge, the report
notes.  Inflation surpassed 40% and roughly 1.5 million people
fell into poverty, according to the Catholic University, the
report relays.

But after an initial setback, Mr. Macri's "no pain, no gain"
approach is now paying off, the report notes.  Private sector
investment is rising and jobs are being created, the report says.
Purchasing power is also on the rise as wage increases outpace the
inflation rate, says Gabriel Zelpo, chief economist at research
firm Elypsis, the report relays.  That, in turn, is boosting
consumer spending, the report adds.

Argentina's economy had a 4.9% year-over-year expansion in July,
its fastest pace in more than two years, the report relays.

Mr. Macri's pro-business policies and approach to poverty are
markedly different from those of his predecessor, the report
notes.  Economists and multilateral institutions including the
International Monetary Fund say Argentina's statistics are now
reliable again and that Mr. Macri's policies will likely spur
growth at least through 2019, the report says.

The controversy over Argentina's poverty rate may have affected
its presidential election in 2015, with pollsters saying that
skepticism over government data helped get Mr. Macri elected, the
report relays.  Now, with a key midterm election approaching next
month, the declining poverty rate could favor allies of Mr. Macri
who are running for Congress, the report discloses.

"I think poverty will keep declining," said Mr. Gonzalez-Rozada,
the report adds. "I don't think it'll fall very quickly, but the
government is on the right path."

                            *     *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
May 10, 2017, Fitch Ratings affirmed Argentina's Long-Term Foreign
and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'B' with a
Stable Outlook. The issue ratings on Argentina's senior unsecured
Foreign and Local Currency bonds are also affirmed at 'B'. The
Country Ceiling is affirmed at 'B' and the Short-Term Foreign and
Local Currency IDRs at 'B'.

On Jan. 30, 2017, the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America
reported that Moody's Investors Service has assigned a B3 rating
to the Government of Argentina's US$3.25 billion bond due 2022 and
the US$3.75 billion bond due 2027. The outlook on the Government
of Argentina's rating is stable.

As previously reported by the TCR-LA, Argentina defaulted on some
of its debt late July 30, 2014, after expiration of a 30-day grace
period on a US$539 million interest payment.  Earlier that day,
talks with a court-appointed mediator ended without resolving a
standoff between the country and a group of hedge funds seeking
full payment on bonds that the country had defaulted on in 2001.
A U.S. judge had ruled that the interest payment couldn't be made
unless the hedge funds led by Elliott Management Corp., got the
US$1.5 billion they claimed. The country hasn't been able to
access international credit markets since its US$95 billion
default 13 years ago.

On March 30, 2016, after more than 12 hours of debate in the
Senate, Argentina's Congress passed a bill that will allow the
government to repay holders of debt that the South American
country defaulted on in 2001, including a group of litigating
hedge funds that won judgments in a New York court. The bill
passed by a vote of 54-16.


CAPEX SA: S&P Affirms 'B' Local & Foreign Currency Ratings
----------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B' local and foreign currency
ratings on CAPEX S.A. (CAPEX). The outlook remains stable.

S&P said, "The ratings on CAPEX reflect our expectation that,
despite its solid current and projected credit metrics and
adequate liquidity position, the 'B' sovereign rating on Argentina
limits CAPEX's credit quality because the company won't be able to
withstand a sovereign stress scenario. The sovereign stress
scenario includes high inflation, sharp currency devaluation, a
severe decrease in gross domestic product and frozen tariffs for
utilities.

"In turn, the upward revision of CAPEX's SACP to 'b+' from 'b' is
a result of our perception overall improvement of the regulatory
framework in which CAPEX operates. In particular, this is the
result of a re-composition of electricity rates, which increased
to $17.7 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2017 from $10.5 per megawatt
hour in 2016 and more convenient gas prices, considering the
latest price increases of 37%. Moreover, we believe that the
current government has set in motion a long-term radical change in
electricity regulation, which is positive for the utilities sector
in general, although the regulatory environment continues to be
weaker than that of regional peers. Furthermore, CAPEX benefits
from vertical integration, considering that it produces gas that
is then consumed in its thermal energy plant. Moreover, around 55%
of CAPEX's total income belongs to a cost recognition program in
which it sells gas to the Argentina's electricity clearing house
'Compania Administradora del Mercado Mayorista ElÇctrico'
(Cammesa) and then Cammesa delivers this gas to generation
companies (included CAPEX) to be used as fuel in energy generation
plants. On the other hand, we view its scale as small and its
diversification as weak, considering that it operates a unique 672
MW plant located in the Argentinean Province of Neuquen.

"The stable outlook on CAPEX reflects that on the sovereign and
also incorporates our expectation that its credit metrics will
remain solid, as seen in a debt to EBITDA ratio close to 3x and
FFO to debt of at least 20% for the next 12 months.

"In the next 12 months, we could revise the ratings on CAPEX
downward if the company registers a sustained debt to EBITDA ratio
of more than 5x or FFO to debt lower than 12%.

"Given that the rating is capped by the sovereign, any positive
rating action on Argentina would trigger a similar action on
CAPEX."


===============
B A R B A D O S
===============


BARBADOS: Owes $14 Million in CDF Contributions
-----------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that Barbados' Finance Minister Chris Sinckler
has acknowledged that Barbados is $14 million in the red in terms
of its contributions to the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).

However, speaking to reporters, he said this was a direct result
of the island's ongoing economic challenges, according to RJR
News.

This, he argues, may necessitate a full review of its
participation in the CDF that was established back in 2008 to
assist disadvantaged CARICOM states in making the transition to a
regional single market and economy, adds the report.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Oct. 2, 2017, S&P Global Ratings said it lowered on Sept. 27,
2017, its long-term local currency sovereign credit rating on
Barbados to 'CCC' from 'CCC+'.  S&P said, "We also affirmed our
long-term foreign currency sovereign rating at 'CCC+. The outlook
on both long-term ratings is negative. We also affirmed the short-
term ratings at 'C'. The transfer and convertibility assessment
for Barbados remains 'CCC+'."


===========
B R A Z I L
===========


BRAZIL: Lets in Big Oil Firms After Keeping Them Out for a Decade
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Paul Kiernan at The Wall Street Journal reports that Brazil will
start reversing what industry officials say was a costly and
ultimately disastrous decision a decade ago: setting aside
billions of barrels from the Western Hemisphere's largest oil
discovery in 30 years for its state-run oil firm at a time when
deep-pocketed foreign companies were clamoring to invest.

Brazil removed key acreage from a 2007 auction that could have
yielded $100 billion in signing bonuses plus hundreds of billions
more in spending commitments when the price of oil was near record
highs, according to several former executives at Western oil
companies, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Now, Brazil may generate just a fraction of what it could have as
it looks to exploit its oil potential and revive its economy, the
report notes.

"We are trying to put the country back on track," Energy Minister
Fernando Coelho told an oil conference in Houston earlier this
year, the report relays.

The auction is the first of nine bidding rounds planned through
2019 for areas that could hold roughly 10 billion barrels of
recoverable oil, or enough to supply the U.S. for almost a year
and a half, the report says.

Included in upcoming auctions are areas that Brazil had originally
intended to lease out in 2007, shortly after Petroleo Brasileiro
SA, or Petrobras, discovered huge reservoirs of crude in an ultra-
deep layer known as the sub-salt, off the southeast coast, the
report discloses.

At the time, the U.S. shale boom was still a dream, experts were
worried that global production might peak and oil prices were en
route to an all-time high, the report relays.  The size and timing
of the find appeared so fortuitous, then-President Luiz Inacio
Lula da Silva said God must be Brazilian, the report notes.

Foreign oil companies were desperate for new reserves, the report
discloses.  "A lot of people were very excited about it," recalled
Shafe Alexander, BP 's country manager in Brazil, the report
relays.

But days before the auction, Mr. da Silva yanked 41 exploration
blocks that were believed to contain sub-salt oil, after being
convinced by Petrobras' former head of exploration and production
that it would be a "crime against the fatherland" to open the
reserves to other oil companies, according to a former official,
the report notes.

A spokesman for Mr. da Silva defended the former president's
decision, the report says.  "Any country would re-evaluate the
situation of an auction when presented with new information about
the areas," the spokesman said, the report discloses.

Brazil's oil output today is less than half what industry
officials say it should be, says WSJ.

And Petrobras, which produces the vast majority of Brazil's oil,
has been hobbled by years of mismanagement and corruption that
have forced it to slash jobs and production targets, the report
notes.  Saddled with the largest pile of debt in the global oil
industry, Petrobras plans to invest only $15 billion a year over
the next half-decade, less than the cost of servicing its loans
and a third of 2013 levels, the report relays.

The impact here in Brazil's oil capital has been stark, with high
unemployment, rising crime and draconian budget cuts by the cash-
strapped government, the report discloses.

"People thought Rio de Janeiro would turn into something like
Houston," said Adriano Pires, a longtime energy consultant, the
report says.  "Instead it became Luanda."

Given Petrobras' problems, Brazilian policy makers say the only
solution is foreign capital, the report relays.  In the past year,
they have relaxed restrictions on private investment in the sub-
salt and eased requirements that oil companies source equipment
and machinery in Brazil, which had driven up costs and limited
interest from the private sector.

But Brazil faces a very different market from 2007, the report
notes.

Crude prices have fallen to around $55 a barrel from a peak of
nearly $150 in 2008, the report notes.  The shale boom allowed the
U.S. to practically double its output and presents a quicker,
cheaper alternative to deep water ventures like Brazil's, where a
single well can cost $100 million to develop.

Rather than peak production, majors now worry about a peak in
demand as consumers shift to more-abundant natural gas and
governments promote renewable energies, the report notes.
Forecasters now repeat the phrase "lower for longer" to summarize
the outlook for oil prices.

And competition for investment dollars is heating up, the report
says.  The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, says 2017 will see
roughly 40 auctions world-wide. Regional neighbor Mexico, whose
deep water prospects sit next to existing equipment and
infrastructure on the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico, began
opening its oil industry to foreign operators in 2012, the report
relays.

According to The Journal, working in Brazil's favor are the huge
size of its oil reservoirs. In the sub-salt, the average well
produces 30,000 barrels a day and can keep pumping for years or
even decades. By comparison, the best wells in New Mexico and the
Permian Basin of Texas, the U.S.'s largest oil producer, churn out
about 2,000 barrels a day and begin to peter out after just a few
weeks, the report says.

As a result, the ANP estimates the nine scheduled bidding rounds
will generate $80 billion in investments, while Mr. Coelho expects
companies to shell out up to $2.7 billion in signing bonuses, the
report relays.

The report notes auction doesn't include known sub-salt
reservoirs, though energy officials say some of the offshore
blocks may contain sub-salt oil that hasn't been discovered.
Nevertheless, it has drawn interest from 32 oil companies,
including many of the world's biggest: Russia's Rosneft, China's
Cnooc, as well as Western firms such as BP, Total and Repsol, the
report relays.

A pair of sub-salt auctions scheduled for Oct. 27 has drawn
interest from a total of 17 companies, the report notes.

"It shows we are doing now, 10 years later, what we should have
done 10 years ago," Decio Oddone, head of the ANP, the country's
energy regulator, said in an interview, the report adds.


OI SA: $19 Billion Bankruptcy Worsens as CFO Quits Post
-------------------------------------------------------
Jessica Brice and Paula Sambo at Bloomberg News report that
Oi SA's bankruptcy saga took a new twist this week as Chief
Financial Officer Ricardo Malavazi Martins resigned, prompting a
rebuke from Brazil's telecommunications regulator.

Juarez Quadros, president of the regulator known as Anatel, told
reporters the departure is "worrisome" and said it worsens an
already bad situation for the phone giant mired in $19 billion of
debt, according to Bloomberg News. The report notes that the
government is weighing a potential takeover of the nation's
biggest landline operator because the majority of Oi SA's board
and management were at odds over a recovery plan.

"I find this an especially difficult situation as interests are
very divergent and players involved can be complicated," said
Carlos Gribel, the head of fixed income at private investment bank
Andbanc Brokerage in Miami, the report relays.  "I don't rule out
a government intervention," Mr. Gribel added.

Oi's management and Nelson Tanure, whose Societe Mondiale is the
phone carrier's second-biggest shareholder, presented competing
restructuring plans Sept. 27 at a board meeting, people familiar
with the matter said, Bloomberg News relays.  A majority of the
board backed his proposal, but the executive team refused to sign
on, creating an impasse, said the people, Bloomberg News notes.
Any plan to be presented to creditors must bear the signatures of
at least two executive statutory directors, they said.

It's been more than a year since Oi filed Brazil's biggest-ever
bankruptcy case and the road to recovery has been plagued by
disagreements and court battles involving bondholders, potential
investors and the government, which is Oi's single biggest
creditor, Bloomberg News relays.  The fines that Oi owes Anatel
have been a major roadblock to reaching a resolution, the report
notes.

Oi said in a statement that the board of directors appointed
Carlos Augusto Machado Pereira de Almeida Brandao as the acting
CFO while the company looks for a permanent replacement, Bloomberg
News adds.

                           About Oi SA

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, and operating almost exclusively
within Brazil, the Oi Group provides services like fixed-line data
transmission and network usage for phones, internet, and cable,
Wi-Fi hot-spots in public areas, and mobile phone and data
services, and employs approximately 142,000 direct and indirect
employees.

On June 20, 2016, pursuant to Brazilian Law No. 11.101/05 (the
"Brazilian Bankruptcy Law"), Oi S.A. and certain of its
subsidiaries filed for recuperao judicial (judicial
reorganization) in Brazil.

On June 21, 2016, OI SA and its affiliates Telemar Norte Leste
S.A. and Oi Brasil Holdings Cooperatief U.A. commenced Chapter 15
proceedings (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No. 16-11791).  Ojas N.
Shah, as foreign representative, signed the petitions.

Coop and PTIF are also subject to proceedings in the Netherlands.

The Chapter 15 cases are assigned to Judge Sean H. Lane.

In the Chapter 15 cases, the Debtors are represented by John K.
Cunningham, Esq., and Mark P. Franke, Esq., at White & Case LLP,
in New York; and Jason N. Zakia, Esq., Richard S. Kebrdle, Esq.,
and Laura L. Femino, Esq., at White & Case LLP, in Miami, Florida.

On July 22, 2016, the New York Court recognized the Brazilian
Proceedings as foreign main proceedings with respect to the
Chapter 15 Debtors, and granted certain additional related relief.



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C A Y M A N  I S L A N D S
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1776 AMERICAN: Sale of Reims' Houston Condo Units for $210K OK'd
----------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Karen K. Brown of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of Texas authorized 1776 American Property IV, LLC, and
affiliates to sell Reims Holdings, LLC's sale of its condominium
units 204, 209, 301, 304, 406 and 1101 at 6001 Reims Road,
Houston, Texas, to SZD Investment, LLC, for $210,000.

The sale of the Properties by the Debtor to SZD Investment will be
made "as is, where is" with no representations or warranties of
any kind (except as to title).  Any liens, claims and
encumbrances, attach to the net sale proceeds in the same order of
priority as exist under non-bankruptcy law.

All ad valorem tax liens on the Properties will be paid at
closing, and the Seller's portion of all normal and customary
closing costs and fees, including but not limited to owners
association fees or dues.

The broker commissions identified in the Contract are approved and
will be paid at closing.

Erich Mundinger is authorized on behalf of the Debtor to execute
all instruments and documents and to perform all other actions
necessary to consummate the transaction contemplated under the
Order and the Contract.

The 14-day stay requirements of Bankruptcy Rule 6004(h) are
waived.

              About 1776 American Properties IV

Historically, 1776 American Properties IV LLC, et al., were
companies managed by Jeff Fisher.  In 2008, Mr. Fisher began
investing in real estate in the Houston area.  Mr. Fisher worked
with friends and other business contacts in Asia who decided to
invest in special purpose entities organized in the Cayman
Islands.

The offshore companies would then loan money to Delaware based
limited liability companies, who in turn invested in real estate
in the United States.  By 2012, the U.S. based LLC's had acquired
over 70 properties worth over $10 million.  As of January 2017,
1776 American Properties, et al., own 116 rental single family
homes / apartment units, five single family homes, and 76 vacant
lots.  In addition, 1776 IV, 1776 V, 1776 VII and 1776 VIII hold
promissory notes and profit sharing arrangements with various
builders on approximately 58 lots.

1776 American Properties IV LLC and its 12 affiliates sought
protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. S.D.
Tex. Lead Case No. 17-30422) on Jan. 27, 2017.  The petitions were
signed by Jeff Fisher, director.

1776 American Properties IV estimated assets of $1 million to $10
million and liabilities of less than $50,000.

The cases are assigned to Judge Karen K. Brown.

Josh T. Judd, Esq., at Andrews Myers PC, serves as the Debtors'
bankruptcy counsel.

No trustee or examiner has been appointed in the bankruptcy cases,
and no official committee of unsecured creditors has been
established.


1776 AMERICAN: Exclusive Plan Filing Deadline Moved to November 27
------------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Karen K. Brown of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of Texas extended the exclusive period during which only
1776 American Property IV, LLC, and its debtor-affiliates may file
a plan of reorganization on or before November 27, 2017.

The Court said the exclusive period is automatically extended for
60 days to allow the Debtors to solicit and obtain acceptance of
their respective plans.

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on August 11, the
Debtors asked the Court to extend their exclusivity periods saying
that the terms of any plan of reorganization filed by the Debtors
will be dependent on resolution of a motion to estimate claim,
which would determine if any liability is owed to Blavesco, Ltd.
and Heather Carlile with respect to a state court litigation.

On July 18, 2017, the Debtors filed their objections to the proofs
of claims filed by Blavesco, Ltd., Michael Stein and Heather
Carlile.  The State Court Litigation related to those claims was
originally scheduled for trial in August 2017.  However, on June
30, 2017, the Houston 1st Court of Appeals referred the primary
portion of the lawsuit to mandatory arbitration.  The Texas State
Court has not reset the case for trial related to the claims that
were not referred to arbitration.

The Disputed Claims are subject a motion to estimate filed March
18, 2017.  The Motion is currently pending before the Bankruptcy
Court.  The Debtors said the claims alleged by the Disputed
Claimants in the litigation are highly disputed, and allowance of
those claims could impact any plan the Debtors file.  The Debtors
assured the Court that they are working with the Disputed
Claimants towards a potential resolution of the claims.

However, the Debtors' exclusivity period to file a plan will
expire prior to resolution of the estimation motion, the claim
objections or trial in the Texas state court.  The Debtors warned
that termination of exclusivity could result in competing plans,
undue expense, and no corresponding benefit to the unsecured
creditors.

Historically, 1776 American Properties IV LLC, et al., were
companies managed by Jeff Fisher.  In 2008, Mr. Fisher began
investing in real estate in the Houston area.  Mr. Fisher worked
with friends  and other business contacts in Asia who decided to
invest in special purpose entities organized in the Cayman
Islands.

The offshore companies would then loan money to Delaware based
limited liability companies, who in turn invested in real estate
in the United States.  By 2012, the U.S. based LLC's had acquired
over 70 properties worth over $10 million.  As of January 2017,
1776 American Properties, et al., own 116 rental single family
homes / apartment units, five single family homes, and 76 vacant
lots.  In addition, 1776 IV, 1776 V, 1776 VII and 1776 VIII hold
promissory notes and profit sharing arrangements with various
builders on approximately 58 lots.

1776 American Properties IV LLC and its 12 affiliates sought
protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. S.D.
Tex. Lead Case No. 17-30422) on Jan. 27, 2017.  The petitions were
signed by Jeff Fisher, director.

1776 American Properties IV estimated assets of $1 million to $10
million and liabilities of less than $50,000.

The cases are assigned to Judge Karen K. Brown.

Josh T. Judd, Esq., at Andrews Myers PC, serves as the Debtors'
bankruptcy counsel.

No trustee or examiner has been appointed in the bankruptcy cases,
and no official committee of unsecured creditors has been
established.


WORLD FINANCIAL: Appoints New Liquidators
-----------------------------------------
Paul Pretlove and Angela Barkhouse of Kalo (BVI) Limited were
appointed as liquidators of World Financial Group, Inc.

The shareholders of BVI Limited held their first meeting on Sept.
27, 2017, to receive the liquidator's report on the company's
wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The liquidators can be reached at:

         Paul Pretlove
         Angela Barkhouse
         Kalo (BVI) Limited
         2nd Floor, Palm Grove House
         Wickhams Cay, Road Town
         Tortola, British Virgin Islands


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D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Wins Favorable Ruling in Suit v. Sun, et al.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the Dominican government said it won
a lawsuit against the companies Sun Land and Architectural
Engineering 21st Century, which had sued the country alleging
breach of contract in an agro project in Azua south.

The two companies, contracted to build the Azua II Agricultural
Development Project, had obtained a court win in 2013, ordering
the country and the dams and canals agency (INDRHI) to pay US$52.0
million in damages, according to Dominican Today.

"The Dominican State and INDRHI decided to appeal this sentence by
first obtaining their annulment and then holding a new trial that
culminated in the sentence issued Sept. 30.  This ruling
completely exonerated the Dominican State, as well as INDRHI
regarding Sun Land's claims," said Presidency legal adviser Flavio
Dario Espinal in a National Palace press conference, the report
relays.

However, in the same ruling handed down by the South Florida
Federal Court, the claim by Architectural Engineering is reduced
from 16 million dollars 576,842 dollars, the report notes.

Mr. Espinal was accompanied by the lawyers Jorge Guerrero and
Eduardo Ramos of the law firm Holland & Knight, who represented
the State, the report relays.

The Azua II project is a chain of lagoons to irrigate agricultural
zones in the province of the same name, the report adds.

As reported in Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on July 24,
2017, Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the Dominican
Republic's long term issuer and debt ratings to Ba3 from B1 and
changed the outlook to stable from positive, based on the
following key drivers:

(1)  The Dominican Republic's continued robust growth outlook
     compared to rating peers, coupled with a reduction in
     external risks as current account deficits have declined and
     international reserves have increased.

(2)  The reduction in fiscal deficits over the last four years and
     Moody's expectation that fiscal deficits will remain shy of
     3% of GDP, supported by fiscal restraint and reduced
     transfers to the electricity sector.


====================
E L  S A L V A D O R
====================


REPUBLIC OF EL SALVADOR: S&P Cuts LT Currency Rating to 'SD'
---------------------------------------------- -------------
On Oct. 2, 2017, S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term and
short-term foreign and local currency ratings on El Salvador to
'SD' (selective default) from 'CC' and 'C', respectively. At the
same time, S&P removed the long-term rating's negative outlook,
where it had placed it on May 5, 2017. S&P is also affirming its
'CCC' issue credit rating on El Salvador's international bonds.
S&P's 'AAA' transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment is
unchanged.

RATIONALE

El Salvador's Congress recently approved amendments to the terms
of financial obligations coming from the Certificates for Pension
Investments (CIPs). The approved bill extends the term of CIPs to
30 years from 25 years, includes a grace period for capital
payments, and modifies interest rates. In S&P's view, these
changes are a distressed offer rather than purely opportunistic
(see "Rating Implications Of Exchange Offers And Similar
Restructurings, Update," May 12, 2009).

The government of El Salvador expects that the restructuring will
become effective soon. Upon completion of the restructuring, S&P
will reassess the sovereign's general credit standing, most likely
raising the foreign and local currency long-term ratings. Despite
the distressed exchange on the CIPs bonds triggering the selective
default, El Salvador remains current in all other market bonds
(including both medium and long-term as well as short-term bonds,
LETES).

Besides CIPs changes, El Salvador's Congress approved a pension
reform that will alleviate the government's structural deficit and
reduce its short-term financing needs. Although this pension
reform signals an important political breakthrough after many
previously failed negotiations, the ability of the government and
opposition parties to reach further agreements on fiscal policy
remains a challenge and will be harder to achieve due to upcoming
March 2018 congressional elections.

S&P said, "We affirmed the issue credit ratings on the foreign
currency senior unsecured 'CCC' international bonds outstanding
because we do not foresee they will be defaulted on within six
months.

"The T&C assessment remains 'AAA' based on our view that the
sovereign will continue to use the U.S dollar as its currency and
not restrict dollar outflows by private parties to make debt-
service payments."

In accordance with S&P's relevant policies and procedures, the
Rating Committee was composed of analysts that are qualified to
vote in the committee, with sufficient experience to convey the
appropriate level of knowledge and understanding of the
methodology applicable (see 'Related Criteria And Research'). At
the onset of the committee, the chair confirmed that the
information provided to the Rating Committee by the primary
analyst had been distributed in a timely manner and was sufficient
for Committee members to make an informed decision.

After the primary analyst gave opening remarks and explained the
recommendation, the Committee discussed key rating factors and
critical issues in accordance with the relevant criteria.
Qualitative and quantitative risk factors were considered and
discussed, looking at track-record and forecasts.

The committee agreed that debt rating factor had deteriorated. All
other key rating factors were unchanged.

The chair ensured every voting member was given the opportunity to
articulate his/her opinion. The chair or designee reviewed the
draft report to ensure consistency with the Committee decision.
The views and the decision of the rating committee are summarized
in the above rationale and outlook. The weighting of all rating
factors is described in the methodology used in this rating action
(see 'Related Criteria And Research').

RATINGS LIST

  Downgraded; CreditWatch/Outlook Action
                                       To           From
  El Salvador (Republic of)
   Sovereign Credit Rating            SD/SD     CC/Negative/C

  Ratings Affirmed

  El Salvador (Republic of)
   Transfer & Convertibility Assessment
    Local Currency                        AAA
  El Salvador (Republic of)
   Senior Unsecured                       CCC


=============
J A M A I C A
=============


JAMAICA: Looking for Ways to Spur Productivity
----------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that Jamaica Finance Minister Audley Shaw said
the Jamaican Government plans to engage the Jamaica Productivity
Centre (JPC) in identifying ways to spur increased workforce
output.

Mr. Shaw, who was responding to questions from Central Kingston
Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites during the sitting of the
House of Representatives, said productivity has been in
"persistent decline" for many years, and this remains a "very
serious issue" in both the public and private sectors, according
to RJR News.

He argued that lack of productivity is one of the fundamental
issues retarding Jamaica's ability to generate increased levels of
sustainable economic growth, the report notes.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 28, 2017, on Sept. 25, 2017, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its
'B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign
credit ratings on Jamaica. The outlook on the long-term rating
remains stable. At the same time, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its
'B+' transfer and convertibility assessment on the country.


===========
M E X I C O
===========


MEXICO: Runs Up $2.73 Billion August Trade Deficit
--------------------------------------------------
Anthony Harrup at The Wall Street Journal reports that Mexico
registered a wider-than-expected $2.73 billion trade deficit in
August as imports of petroleum and other goods outpaced gains in
factory exports.

Total exports rose 10.3% from the year-earlier month to $35.78
billion, while imports were 12.2% higher at $38.51 billion, the
National Statistics Institute said, according to The Wall Street
Journal.  The deficit was larger than the $1.65 billion median
estimate of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, and
brought the accumulated shortfall for the first eight months of
the year to $7.16 billion.

The report says a widening gap in petroleum trade accounted for
most of the August deficit.  Petoleum exports rose 4.1% to $1.84
billion, including $1.57 billion for crude oil as state oil
company Petroleos Mexicanos shipped out 1.114 million barrels a
day at an average price of $45.41 per barrel.  Volume fell from a
year before, but the average price was higher.

Imports of natural gas and products such as gasoline and diesel
rose 44.5% to $4.03 billion, the report discloses.

Exports of manufactured goods, which account for more than 90% of
the total, rose 10.7% with large gains in shipments of processed
food, vehicles and auto parts, and electronic equipment, the
report relays.

Consumer goods imports, which have been helped by a recovery in
the Mexican peso from January's record lows, rose 12% from August
of 2016 to $5.2 billion, the report notes.  Intermediate goods
imports, such as components and materials used by manufacturing
industries, rose 12.9%, the report says.

In the January-August period, an $11.6 billion deficit in oil and
petroleum trade was partially offset by a $4.43 billion surplus in
nonpetroleum trade, the report discloses.


PESQUERA EXALMAR: S&P Affirms B- Corp Credit, Outlook Negative
--------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B-' corporate credit and issue-
level ratings on Pesquera Exalmar S.A.A. (Exalmar). The outlook on
the corporate credit rating remains negative.

Exalmar's cash flow generation prospects are improving amid
expectations that normalizing fishing conditions in Peru could
support global fishing quotas above 4 million tons a year.
However, the company's tight liquidity remains exposed to the
inherent cyclicality of the Peruvian fishing industry, as well as
to the debt maturity on its $172 million senior unsecured notes
due January 2020.

S&P said, "Exalmar's cash flow generation prospects are improving
amid our expectations that normalizing fishing conditions in Peru
will support global fishing quotas above 4 million tons a year.
However, although business conditions have improved, Exalmar's
tight liquidity remains exposed to the inherent cyclicality of the
Peruvian fishing industry, as well as to the debt maturity on its
$172 million senior unsecured notes due January 2020. In our view,
Exalmar's refinancing risk could escalate by the second quarter of
2018 if the company cannot successfully execute a liability
management that extends its debt maturity profile."


======================
P U E R T O    R I C O
======================


BEBE STORES: Incurs $139 Million Net Loss in Fiscal 2017
--------------------------------------------------------
bebe stores, inc. filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission its annual report on Form 10-K disclosing a net loss of
$138.96 million on $0 of net sales for the fiscal year ended July
1, 2017, compared to a net loss of $27.48 million on $0 of net
sales for the fiscal year ended July 2, 2016.

As of July 1, 2017, bebe stores had $52.52 million in total
assets, $63.62 million in total liabilities and a total
shareholders' deficit of $11.10 million.

The report from the Company's independent registered public
accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP, in San Francisco,
California, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, includes an
explanatory paragraph stating that the Company has incurred
recurring losses from operations and negative cash flows from
operations and expects significant uncertainty in generating
sufficient cash to meet its obligations and sustain its
operations, which raises substantial doubt about its ability to
continue as a going concern.

The Company incurred net losses and used cash in operating
activities in fiscal 2017 and 2016.  Cash and equivalents were
$17.0 million as of July 1, 2017.

The Company used $69.1 million and $38.6 million, net of cash in
operating activities in fiscal years 2017 and 2016, respectively.
The Company's liquidity is dependent upon its ability to generate
cash from operations along with usage of its existing cash and
cash equivalents.  However, the Company no longer expects losses
in the future to be significant due to the shut down of its
operations.

Subsequent to fiscal 2017, the Company expects operating expenses
to be minimal reflecting the fact that the Company's primary asset
will be its investment in the Joint Venture, and will not require
significant operating cash flow to maintain.  The Company expects
to receive cash from the Joint Venture on a quarterly basis that
will be sufficient to cover its operating expenses.

A full-text copy of the Form 10-K is available for free at:

                     https://is.gd/U7K23U

                    About bebe stores inc.

Based in Brisbane, California, bebe stores inc. (NASDAQ: BEBE) --
http://www.bebe.com/-- is a women's retail clothier established
in 1976.  The brand develops and produces a line of women's
apparel and accessories, which it markets under the Bebe,
BebeSport, and Bebe Outlet names.

Manny Mashouf founded bebe stores, inc. and has served as chairman
of the Board since the Company's incorporation in 1976.  Mr.
Mashouf became the chief executive officer beginning February
2016.

He previously served as the Company's CEO from 1976 to February
2004 and again from January 2009 to January 2013.  Mr. Mashouf is
the uncle of Hamid Mashouf, the Company's chief information
officer.  The Company operated brick-and-mortar stores in the
United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.  The Company had 142 retail
stores before ending all retail operations in the U.S. by May 27,
2017.  As of July 1, 2017, the Company had no remaining stores and
had fully impaired, all of its remaining long-lived assets at its
corporate offices and distribution center because of the shut-down
of its operations.


PUERTO RICO: PREPA Disappointed by Rejection of $1-Bil. Loan Offer
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Bondholder Group
on Sept. 28, 2017, commented on the statement from the Puerto Rico
Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority ("AAFAF") rejecting
the Bondholder Group members' offer of a debtor in possession
(DIP) financing loan to PREPA including $1 billion in new cash
from the bondholders, as well as relief on existing bonds.

Stephen Spencer of Houlihan Lokey, the PREPA Bondholder Group's
financial advisor, said:

"We are disappointed by AAFAF's and the Governor's outright
rejection of our loan offer without any discussion or
counter-proposal.  We sincerely believed our loan would have
helped PREPA finance its recovery and rebuilding efforts as
quickly as possible in the wake of two terrible hurricanes.

"This offer was designed to support PREPA's liquidity with new,
immediate low-cost financing -- with an interest rate set
materially below market -- and substantial debt service relief,
including a permanent reduction in outstanding debt.  After a lack
of communication from PREPA, we wanted to ensure that they knew
funding was available if needed.  Importantly, we believe this
offer would have helped, not hurt, PREPA's ability to obtain
Federal disaster funding relief based on the post-hurricane
recovery experiences of other electric utilities such as Entergy
New Orleans and the Long Island Power Authority, and with expanded
capital, would potentially reduce the time frame to restore power
to the Island.

"Our group's members include firms that have had relationships in
Puerto Rico for many decades.  We are all concerned with the
well-being of the Americans that live in Puerto Rico and we
continue to look for ways to engage with the Commonwealth and work
collaboratively in the ongoing recovery effort."

                      About Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in association with
the United States that's facing a massive bond debt of $70
billion, a 68% debt-to-GDP ratio and negative economic growth in
nine of the last 10 years.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has sought bankruptcy protection,
aiming to restructure its massive $74 billion debt-load and $49
billion in pension obligations.

The debt restructuring petition was filed by Puerto Rico's
financial oversight board in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico
(Case No. 17-01578) on May 3, 2017, and was made under Title III
of 2016's U.S. Congressional rescue law known as the Puerto Rico
Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act ("PROMESA").

The Financial Oversight and Management Board later commenced Title
III cases for the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation
(COFINA) on May 5, 2017, and the Employees Retirement System (ERS)
and the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA) on
May 21, 2017.  On July 2, 2017, a Title III case was commenced for
the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority ("PREPA").

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed U.S. District Judge
Laura Taylor Swain to oversee the Title III cases.  The Honorable
Judith Dein, a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of
Massachusetts, has been designated to preside over matters that
may be referred to her by Judge Swain, including discovery
disputes, and management of other pretrial proceedings.

Joint administration of the Title III cases, under Lead Case No.
17-3283, was granted on June 29, 2017.

The Oversight Board has hired as advisors, Proskauer Rose LLP and
O'Neill & Borges LLC as legal counsel, McKinsey & Co. as strategic
consultant, Citigroup Global Markets, as municipal investment
banker, and Ernst & Young, as financial advisor.

Martin J. Bienenstock, Esq., Scott K. Rutsky, Esq., and Philip M.
Abelson, Esq., of Proskauer Rose; and Hermann D. Bauer, Esq., at
O'Neill & Borges are on-board as attorneys.

McKinsey & Co. is the Board's strategic consultant, Ernst & Young
is the Board's financial advisor, and Citigroup Global Markets
Inc. is the Board's municipal investment banker.

Prime Clerk LLC is the claims and noticing agent.  Prime Clerk
maintains a case web site at:

           https://cases.primeclerk.com/puertorico

Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC is the service agent for ERS, HTA,
and PREPA.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP is counsel to the Commonwealth's Puerto Rico
Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF), the agency
responsible for negotiations with bondholders.

The Oversight Board named Professor Nancy B. Rapoport as fee
examiner and to chair a committee to review professionals' fees.

                      Bondholders' Attorneys

Toro, Colon, Mullet, Rivera & Sifre, P.S.C. and Kramer Levin
Naftalis & Frankel LLP serve as counsel to the Mutual Fund Group,
comprised of mutual funds managed by Oppenheimer Funds, Inc.,
Franklin Advisers, Inc., and the First Puerto Rico Family of
Funds, which collectively hold over $3.5 billion in COFINA Bonds
and over $2.9 billion in other bonds issued by Puerto Rico and
other instrumentalities, including over $1.8 billion of Puerto
Rico general obligation bonds ("GO Bonds").

White & Case LLP and Lopez Sanchez & Pirillo LLC represent the UBS
Family of Funds and the Puerto Rico Family of Funds, which hold
$613.3 million in COFINA bonds.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Robbins, Russell,
Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP, and Jimenez, Graffam &
Lausell are co-counsel to the ad hoc group of General Obligation
Bondholders, comprised of Aurelius Capital Management, LP,
Autonomy Capital (Jersey) LP, FCO Advisors LP, Franklin Mutual
Advisers LLC, Monarch Alternative Capital LP, Senator Investment
Group LP, and Stone Lion Capital Partners L.P.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and Reichard & Escalera are
co-counsel to the ad hoc coalition of holders of senior bonds
issued by COFINA, comprised of at least 30 institutional holders,
including Canyon Capital Advisors LLC and Varde Investment
Partners, L.P.

Correa Acevedo & Abesada Law Offices, P.S.C., is counsel to Canyon
Capital Advisors, LLC, River Canyon Fund Management, LLC, Davidson
Kempner Capital Management LP, OZ Management, LP, and OZ
Management II LP (the QTCB Noteholder Group).

                           Committees

The U.S. Trustee formed a nine-member Official Committee of
Retirees and a seven-member Official Committee of Unsecured
Creditors of the Commonwealth.  The Retiree Committee tapped
Jenner & Block LLP and Bennazar, Garcia & Milian, C.S.P., as its
attorneys.  The Creditors Committee tapped Paul Hastings LLP and
O'Neill & Gilmore LLC as counsel.


=================
V E N E Z U E L A
=================


VENEZUELA: Pledges to Meet Debt Obligations Despite Sanctions
-------------------------------------------------------------
Stephen Bierman and Elena Mazneva at Bloomberg News report that
Venezuela will fulfill its sovereign-bond obligations even though
U.S. sanctions are affecting its ability to conduct normal debt
relations, said President Nicolas Maduro.

President Maduro spoke at the Russian Energy Week conference in
Moscow as his nation's struggling economy becomes increasingly
reliant on the Kremlin's support, according to Bloomberg News.
The Latin American oil producer is struggling to meet its
financial obligations and remains on course for a fourth
consecutive year of economic contraction in 2017, according to
Fitch Ratings.

International partners whose money helped to boost crude
production -- Venezuela's main source of revenue -- in the past
decade, including companies from China and India, are now trying
to avoid involvement in new loans amid U.S. sanctions, the report
notes.

The government in Moscow has taken a softer approach, offering
talks on restructuring Venezuela's bilateral debt, Bloomberg News
relays.  While Russia's state-run oil company Rosneft PJSC said in
August that it wasn't currently planning any further prepayments
for crude supplies from Petroleos de Venezuela SA's, that could
change, Bloomberg News notes.

Military cooperation with Russia has also proved to be very
beneficial, President Maduro said, Bloomberg News notes.
Venezuela is not discussing any additional prepayment deals with
Rosneft, said Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino, Bloomberg News
relays.

Venezuela's debt restructuring needs "serious discussion," Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call,
Bloomberg News discloses.

                             U.S. Sanctions

Venezuela and PDVSA have about $29 billion of outstanding debt to
China and its state development bank as well as some $9 billion
due to Russia and Rosneft, according to Mark Walker, managing
director at Millstein & Co., and Richard Cooper, senior partner at
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Bloomberg News relays.  The
nation and PDVSA, its state-run oil producer, are due to pay off
$3.53 billion in principal and interest in October and November,
according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The new penalties imposed last month by the administration of U.S.
President Donald Trump restrict Venezuela and PDVSA from raising
new debt, Bloomberg News notes.

A 49.9 percent stake in Citgo, PDVSA's U.S. refining and marketing
subsidiary, was put up as collateral for Rosneft's $1.5 billion
loan last year, Bloomberg News says.  Several U.S. lawmakers have
asked the Treasury Department to investigate the matter and block
the possible transfer of the shares to Rosneft, saying it could
have national security implications, Bloomberg News notes.

Venezuela is discussing different collateral options with Rosneft,
Del Pino said, without specifying which assets could be offered,
Bloomberg News notes.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 28, 2017, S&P Global Ratings suspended its 'CCC-' local
currency issue ratings on four of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela's local currency-denominated debt issues. S&P said, "At
the same time, S&P affirmed our 'CCC-' long-term foreign and local
currency sovereign issuer credit ratings. The outlook on the long-
term ratings is negative. In addition, we affirmed our 'C' short-
term foreign and local currency sovereign issuer credit ratings.
The transfer and convertibility assessment remains 'CCC-'."


                            ***********


Monday's edition of the TCR-LA delivers a list of indicative
prices for bond issues that reportedly trade well below par.
Prices are obtained by TCR-LA editors from a variety of outside
sources during the prior week we think are reliable.   Those
sources may not, however, be complete or accurate.  The Monday
Bond Pricing table is compiled on the Friday prior to publication.
Prices reported are not intended to reflect actual trades.  Prices
for actual trades are probably different.  Our objective is to
share information, not make markets in publicly traded securities.
Nothing in the TCR-LA constitutes an offer or solicitation to buy
or sell any security of any kind.  It is likely that some entity
affiliated with a TCR-LA editor holds some position in the
issuers' public debt and equity securities about which we report.

Tuesday's edition of the TCR-LA features a list of companies with
insolvent balance sheets obtained by our editors based on the
latest balance sheets publicly available a day prior to
publication.  At first glance, this list may look like the
definitive compilation of stocks that are ideal to sell short.
Don't be fooled.  Assets, for example, reported at historical cost
net of depreciation may understate the true value of a firm's
assets.  A company may establish reserves on its balance sheet for
liabilities that may never materialize.  The prices at which
equity securities trade in public market are determined by more
than a balance sheet solvency test.

Submissions about insolvency-related conferences are encouraged.
Send announcements to conferences@bankrupt.com


                            ***********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.,
USA, Marites O. Claro, Joy A. Agravante, Rousel Elaine T.
Fernandez, Julie Anne L. Toledo, Ivy B. Magdadaro, and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2017.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is US$775 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members
of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or
balance thereof are US$25 each.  For subscription information,
contact Peter A. Chapman at 215-945-7000 or Joseph Cardillo at
856-381-8268.


                   * * * End of Transmission * * *