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

               Wednesday, May 9, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 90


                            Headlines



A R G E N T I N A

ARGENTINA: Central Bank Grips Hold for Now


B R A Z I L

AEROPORTOS BRASIL: Files for Bankruptcy Protection
VALE SA: 1Q Profit Slumps by a Third on Price Slide
VALE SA: Repays US$2.2 Billion in Debt


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Scoffs at Claim China Ties Bring Instability
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Firms See Trouble if Parties Law Isn't Passed


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: Agriculture Minister to Revamp Local Coconut Industry


M E X I C O

NEMAK SAB: S&P Affirms 'BB+' Corp Credit Rating, Outlook Stable
ORO NEGRO: Seeks Chapter 15 Relief


N I C A R A G U A

NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY: Suspends Classes Indefinitely


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEZUELA: UN Agency Seeks Urgent Funds to Help Migrants


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A R G E N T I N A
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ARGENTINA: Central Bank Grips Hold for Now
------------------------------------------
breakingviews.com reports that a visitor to Buenos Aires, armed
with U.S. dollars, is easily captivated.  The Argentine reality,
though, is far from an idyll, according to breakingviews.com.

Inflation ran at over 25 percent in the year to March.  And pesos
buy only about a seventh as many dollars as a decade ago, the
report notes.  Argentina's sloppy financial heritage feeds into
the central-bank action that lifted policy interest rates to 40
percent on May 4, halting the latest slide in the local currency,
at least for now, the report discloses.

A serial defaulter on its debt since independence in 1816,
Argentina has a lot still to prove -- including to its own
citizens, who are as wary of its currency as foreign investors,
the report relays.  In that context the recent sharp hikes, which
brought rates up from 27.25 percent less than two weeks ago, are
both a statement of intent on inflation and a demonstration by
central-bank chief Federico Sturzenegger that political influence
in monetary policy is in abeyance, the report notes.

He succeeded in propping up the peso, which steadied on May 4 and
May 7.  And his tough stance is in keeping with President Mauricio
Macri's effort to "normalize" the Argentine economy, as he has put
it, in contrast to spendthrift predecessors like Cristina
Fernandez, the report discloses.  Squeezing inflation is part of
that, and so are fiscal moves to control government spending, like
cutting energy subsidies, the report relays.

International investors have rewarded Macri's efforts since taking
office in late 2015, including by snapping up a 100-year
government bond last year, the report relays.  He can count that
sale an extraordinary feat, given Argentina's history of defaults,
though buyers of the debt are now underwater, the report notes.
Macri's government also cut its fiscal deficit target.

Yet reining in government spending quickly becomes unpopular with
those who formerly benefited, the report relays.  The pushback
against Macri's agenda may increase if other factors, like
unexpectedly high interest rates, are added to the mix, the report
notes.  There's a hint of that in last week's report from Fitch
Ratings, in which it revised its outlook for Argentina's "B"
credit rating to merely "stable" from "positive," the report
recalls. Fitch cited high inflation and economic volatility but
also intensified "political headwinds."

According to breakingviews.com, whether Macri and Sturzenegger can
hold their course might well be in the hands of international
investors. Net flows into investment funds focused on emerging
markets have dwindled in recent months, according to several data
providers, the report discloses.  If that's the start of a global
cyclical emerging-market downturn, it will make their task that
much harder, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
May 8, 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Argentina's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B' and revised
the Outlook to Stable from Positive.

On December 4, 2017, Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the
Government of Argentina's local and foreign currency issuer and
senior unsecured ratings to B2 from B3. The senior unsecured
shelves were upgraded to (P)B2 from (P)B3. The outlook on the
ratings is stable.  At the same time, Argentina's short-term
rating was affirmed at Not Prime (NP). The senior unsecured
ratings for unrestructured debt were affirmed at Ca and the
unrestructured senior unsecured shelf affirmed at (P)Ca.

Moody's said the key drivers of the upgrade of the rating to B2
are: (1) a record of macro-economic reforms that are beginning to
address long existing distortions in Argentina's economy; and (2)
the likelihood that reforms will continue and in turn sustain
the recent return to positive economic growth.

The stable outlook on Argentina's B2 ratings balances Argentina's
credit strengths of its large, diverse economy and moderate income
levels against the credit challenges posed by still high fiscal
deficits and a reliance on external financing, which increases its
vulnerability to external event risk, said Moody's.

On Nov. 10, 2017, Fitch Ratings revised Argentina's Outlook to
Positive from Stable and has affirmed its Long Term Foreign-
Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B'.

On Oct. 30, 2017, S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term
sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B+' from
'B'. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.  S&P also
affirmed its short-term sovereign credit ratings on Argentina at
'B'. At the same time, S&P raised its national scale ratings to
'raAA' from 'raA+'. In addition, S&P raised its transfer and
convertibility assessment to 'BB-' from 'B+', in line with its
assessment of sustained local access to foreign exchange.

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, 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.


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B R A Z I L
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AEROPORTOS BRASIL: Files for Bankruptcy Protection
--------------------------------------------------
Reuters reports that a company set up to operate Brazil's
Viracopos airport filed for protection from creditors on May 7,
according to a securities filing, but assured that operations at
the major cargo hub will remain normal.

Aeroportos Brasil SA, which in 2012 won the concession for a 51
percent stake in the Viracopos airport, is jointly owned by
Triunfo Participacoes e Investimentos SA, UTC Engenharia SA and
France's Egis Airport Operation, according to Reuters.

Triunfo and UTC each own 45 percent of ABSA, as the operator is
known, while Egis controls a 10 percent stake, the report notes.

In a filing, Triunfo said demand for passenger and cargo
transportation at Viracopos has lagged expectations to "absolutely
exorbitant and unforeseeable" levels due to reasons that do not
fall under the control of the concession holder, the report
relays.

"Despite unremitting efforts by its owners, the financial
situation of the company worsened substantially in recent days,
leading to a decision by shareholders to file for bankruptcy
protection," the filing said, the report notes.

ABSA had announced in July 2017 it would return the concession to
the government to seek other bidders in a new auction, but that
process has yet to lead to concrete results, Mr. Trinufo added,
the report relays.

Viracopos serves the city of Campinas in Sao Paulo state and
shipped 166,000 tons of freight in 2016, although that is only 40
percent of the initial plan, the report adds.


VALE SA: 1Q Profit Slumps by a Third on Price Slide
---------------------------------------------------
Marta Nogueira and Alexandra Alper at Reuters report that Vale SA
posted a 36 percent slump in first-quarter profit compared to the
same quarter a year earlier, missing estimates, as iron ore prices
slipped despite record sales, results showed.

In a securities filing, Brazil's Vale said quarterly net income
totaled $1.59 billion, below a consensus estimate of $1.926
billion and the $2.49 billion reached a year ago, according to
Reuters.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization, or EBITDA, slumped to $3.971 billion, below a
consensus estimate of $4.387 billion compiled by Thomson Reuters
and the $4.308 billion posted in the year-ago quarter.

The company said iron ore prices fell 12.4 percent in the first
quarter compared to the same period last year to $66.41 per ton,
while costs and expenses rose by nearly 10 percent, the report
says.

However, sales of iron ore fines rose 11.2 percent to 70.8 million
tons, a record for the first quarter, the report notes.

Vale slashed net debt to $14.9 billion in the quarter from more
than $18 billion at the close of 2017, taking it to the lowest
level in nearly seven years, the report discloses.   The company
promised to lower its debt to $10 billion in the "short term,"
after saying in January it hoped to reach that target by mid-2018,
the report relays.

Capital expenditure slid to $890 million in the first three months
of the year, the smallest such outlay for a first quarter since
2005, Vale said, the report notes.

Net operating revenue rose just 1 percent to $8.603 billion from
the first quarter of last year, but was below analysts'
expectations of $8.698 billion, the report discloses.

Earlier this month, Vale said total iron ore output slipped in the
first quarter due to heavy rains, but kept its output goal for the
year on hold at 390 million tons, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
April 13, 2018, Moody's America Latina said Vale S.A.'s foreign
currency senior unsecured ratings, the ratings on the debt issues
of Vale Overseas Limited (fully and unconditionally guaranteed by
Vale S.A.) were affirmed at Ba1 and the senior unsecured ratings
of Vale Canada Ltd were affirmed at Ba3. The outlook remains
stable.


VALE SA: Repays US$2.2 Billion in Debt
--------------------------------------
Latin Lawyer reports that Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in
New York and Walkers in the Cayman Islands have helped Brazilian
mining company Vale reduce its outstanding debt by US$2.2 billion.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
April 13, 2018, Moody's America Latina said Vale S.A.'s foreign
currency senior unsecured ratings, the ratings on the debt issues
of Vale Overseas Limited (fully and unconditionally guaranteed by
Vale S.A.) were affirmed at Ba1 and the senior unsecured ratings
of Vale Canada Ltd were affirmed at Ba3. The outlook remains
stable.



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D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Scoffs at Claim China Ties Bring Instability
----------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that executive branch Legal consultant,
Flavio Dario Espinal said Dominican Republic's decision to forge
diplomatic ties with China was based on the national interest and
rebuffed that it could create instability in the region.

"The People's Republic of China is an economic reality of the
first order," he said, noting that as the world's second economy,
has available capital, according to Dominican Today.

"We don't think that the establishment of relations with China, in
any sense, can generate instability," said the official in
response to Washington's claim that China's agreement, "contribute
to regional instability," the report notes.

"It is a reality that China is present in Latin America, it is a
country that as it has grown economically has an increasingly
global presence, and that is a reality of today's world, and the
United States knows it," Mr. Espinal said at the session of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the report
adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
April 23, 2018, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB-/B' long- and
short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Dominican Republic.
The outlook remains stable. The transfer and convertibility (T&C)
assessment is unchanged at 'BB+'.


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Firms See Trouble if Parties Law Isn't Passed
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that National Business Council (CONEP)
President Pedro Brache called on the political class to leave
aside their differences on the primary elections to provide the
country with the Parties and Campaign Law.

He warned that if they fail to achieve a consensus, society will
demand answers, according to Dominican Today.  "It would be a very
important signal. The country expects a law of parties and an
electoral law and I think that politicians have to understand that
if they do not give of themselves, then, somehow, there'll be hell
to pay," the report quoted Mr. Brache as saying.

Nonetheless, Mr. Brache said he's upbeat and believes that, "as in
other occasions," Congress will reach an agreement and the bills
will be approved to regulate the country's party and electoral
system.   "The country awaits this to happen. I think that in the
matter of the primaries the politicians have to agree," Mr. Brache
added.

However, the business leader considered that there are more
significant aspects to be dealt with than the internal election
mode of candidates of political parties, such as the aspect of
transparency, the report notes.

"For the private sector there's something more important than
talking about open or closed primary. Definitely the issues that
have to do with transparency, with financing, with the internal
organizations of the parties are issues that interest many sectors
and citizens," he said, the report says.

He reiterated that the country needs a law that clearly defines
how all political parties should make transparent use of taxpayer
money, the report relays.  "We're advocating that attention be
paid to the issue of transparency. We understand that politicians
are called to agree," he added.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
April 23, 2018, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB-/B' long- and
short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Dominican Republic.
The outlook remains stable. The transfer and convertibility (T&C)
assessment is unchanged at 'BB+'.


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J A M A I C A
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JAMAICA: Agriculture Minister to Revamp Local Coconut Industry
--------------------------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that plans have been outlined to revamp the local
coconut industry.

Agriculture Minister, Audley Shaw, lamenting that while global
demand for coconuts have increased, local production has declined,
said his mission is to restore production to its peak, according
to RJR News.

He reported that his Ministry and the Coconut Board had agreed on
a three-pronged formula for the way forward, with the first call
on the resources of the Coconut Industry Board being to build a
strong platform for expansion of the sector involving increased
production of seedlings as well as a strong research and extension
program, the report notes.

The strategy also includes the acquisition of more than 1,700
acres of farm lands in Water Valley and Unity Valley in St Mary,
the report relays.

Subject to Cabinet approval, the Coconut Industry Board also plans
to acquire the Richmond Cocoa Fermentry also in St Mary, the
report notes.

The Agriculture Ministry was speaking at the Coconut Industry
Board's annual general meeting on the weekend, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Feb. 5, 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Jamaica's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B' and has
revised the Rating Outlook to Positive from Stable.


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M E X I C O
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NEMAK SAB: S&P Affirms 'BB+' Corp Credit Rating, Outlook Stable
---------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB+' global scale corporate
credit and issue-level ratings on Nemak. S&P said, "We also
affirmed our 'mxAA-' long-term national scale corporate credit
rating on the company. The recovery rating on Nemak's $500 million
and EUR500 million senior unsecured notes due 2025 and 2024,
respectively, remains unchanged at '3', indicating that we expect
a meaningful (50% to 90%; rounded estimate of 55%) recovery in the
event of a payment default." The outlook remains stable.

The rating affirmation reflects that Nemak has continued to post
healthy operating and financial performance with debt to EBITDA of
about 2.0x and FFO to debt of about 35%, mainly due to continued
development of platform programs, operating efficiencies, and
financial discipline that maintains stable debt levels. The
company was able to do so amid a stabilization of demand in North
America's vehicle market--despite slipping volumes--incremental
expenses related to the launch of new platforms, and higher costs
stemming from delays in adjusting product prices in line with the
rising aluminum prices. The affirmation also incorporates S&P's
expectation that Nemak will post debt to EBITDA of about 2.0x and
FFO to debt of about 40% in the next 12 months.

During the past few years, the company benefited from favorable
dynamics in the North American vehicle market. However, the volume
in this market has recently slowed down, while demand has
stabilized. S&P said, "We believe the recovery of the European and
South American markets will offset this drop. We also believe that
Nemak will maintain its leading position in the production of
cylinder heads and engine blocks, continue developing its
structural and electric vehicle components segments, and that it
will obtain new contracts with the original equipment
manufacturers (OEMs) over the next 12-24 months. Although the
company has expanded its geographic presence during the past few
years by opening manufacturing facilities in Eastern Europe and
Asia, which helped diversify its customer base, we consider that
the company is still concentrated in North America."

If the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation
outcome were to be less favorable for the auto industry, S&P
considers that the impact on Nemak's performance will be limited.
This is because of the company's resilient business model, cost
structure, and given that less than 20% of its sales volume
produced in Mexico is destined for the U.S. (The customers are
responsible for shipping about 90% of this portion of products to
final destination). Nemak generates about 55% of its revenue in
the NAFTA region, particularly from three customers: Ford, General
Motors (GM), and Fiat Chrysler (the latter accounts for 50% of
Nemak's consolidated revenue). Furthermore, another mitigating
factor to a potentially unfavorable NAFTA renegotiation outcome is
that Nemak's products are specialized components and are higher
value added, thus are less susceptible to be replaced than other
products of the industry. Similarly, Nemak is the only
manufacturer of heads and blocks in the U.S. through its four
facilities in the country.

S&P said, "We believe that the company will improve its margins
gradually in the next few years by implementing operating
efficiencies while incorporating new technologies to adapt to
market trends in aluminum structural components and lighter
vehicles. We see evidence of this in the ramp-up of recently
awarded platforms and recovery of vehicle markets in Europe and
South America. In addition, we consider that Nemak will maintain
its capex levels in order to develop new programs from recently
awarded platforms and that it will implement measures to minimize
adverse impact from metal lag.

"Our global scale long-term corporate credit rating on Nemak also
incorporates a one-notch uplift from its 'bb' stand-alone credit
profile (SACP) to reflect our view that Nemak is a moderately
strategic subsidiary of Alfa S.A.B. de C.V. (Alfa; BBB/Stable/--),
which owns 75.24% of the company."


ORO NEGRO: Seeks Chapter 15 Relief
----------------------------------
Declan Bush at The Latin Lawyer reports that Oro Negro, a Mexican
oil rig lessor has filed for US Chapter 15 bankruptcy relief,
accusing its main client and bondholders of tortious interference.

Founded in 2012, Integradora de Servicios Petroleros Oro Negro,
S.A.P.I. de C.V. (Oro Negro) is a Mexican company that provides
integrated and diversified oilfield services.  Oro Negro provides
full drilling services. The Company owns five state-of-the-art
jack-up rigs; these are under contract with Pemex for drilling
operations in the Gulf of Mexico.



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N I C A R A G U A
=================


NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY: Suspends Classes Indefinitely
-------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the National Autonomous University of
Nicaragua (UNAN), the country's largest university, suspended
classes on all its campuses due to the widespread protests which
have claimed at least 47 lives since Apr. 18 during demonstrations
against the administration of president Daniel Ortega.

Thousands of students were protesting again across the country
with some covering their heads and faces partially or totally with
a piece of clothing, to avoid being recognized, according to EFE
News.

Hundreds shouted loudly on the road that serves as the main
entrance and exit to Managua: "We are not criminals, we are
students," the report adds.


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V E N E Z U E L A
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VENEZUELA: UN Agency Seeks Urgent Funds to Help Migrants
--------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the United Nations emergency food relief
agency has issued an urgent appeal for nearly US$46 million to
feed some 350,000 impoverished migrants who crossed the border
from Venezuela into Colombia, as well as host communities with
pre-existing vulnerabilities.

"We urgently need funds so that we can bring vital aid to migrant
families who have left their homes behind, and don't know where
their next meal is coming from," said Miguel Barreto, the Regional
Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the UN World Food
Program (WFP), according to EFE News.

"We also need to support host communities, many of them already
poor, who have shown great generosity as they bear the brunt of
this crisis," he added, referring to the deepening socio-economic
turmoil inside Venezuela, the report notes.

WFP announced that as part of an eight-month response, it will
provide food assistance to migrants -- especially women and
children -- living in temporary shelters; emergency support for
school meals; as well as help Venezuelan families trying to
integrate, the report relays.

These efforts are part of a larger integrated response plan, drawn
up by UN agencies in Colombia -- at the request of the
Government -- to help address the crisis, the report notes.

The report discloses that support will be extended to vulnerable
indigenous communities coping with the influx, where in some areas
migrants now make up more than half of the population, said WFP.

At present, the UN agency is working with temporary shelters or
community kitchens run by religious organizations and other
partners, purchasing the food needed to prepare hot meals for
newly arrived migrants, the report adds.


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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


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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 2018.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

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.
.


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