Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has registered a total 3,215 COVID-19 infections and nine deaths due to the pandemic, the chairman of the firm said on Monday, as pressure rises on production of the red metal. Chile’s copper miners have largely maintained output despite soaring case numbers in the South American country, though pressure has been mounting for companies to strengthen safety measures, even potentially at the expense of production.
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Hedge funds are starting to buy into the rally in copper, which continues to build upside momentum. London Metal Exchange (LME) copper hit a two-year high of $6,633 per tonne on Monday. At a current $6,490, it is now up 5% on levels at the start of the year, having clawed back all its COVID-19 losses. What’s attracting investors back to the copper market is the current bullish mix of strong Chinese demand and fragile Chilean supply.
Chilean mobile operator WOM has partnered with digital enablement and revenue management software provider Alepo to enter the fixed broadband (FTTH) market. Set for a July 2020 launch, the project will be an entirely remote implementation to work around ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions. With this project, WOM expects to acquire over 500k subscribers within the first year and eventually build up to 1.5 million subscribers by the end of 2023.
Sempra Energy announced that it has completed the sale of its Chilean businesses, generating approximately $2.23 billion in total cash proceeds, subject to post-closing adjustments. The sale to State Grid International Development Limited (SGID) includes Sempra Energy’s 100% stake in Chilquinta Energía S.A. (Chilquinta Energía).
The total number of workers covered by the Employment Protection Law reached 646,121, which already represents almost 11% of the country’s employees (6.1 million), according to the Superintendency of Pensions. In the week ending June 21 there was an increase of 22,620 workers, breaking the trend of deceleration that had been registered in the last three weeks.
Chilean casino operator Nueva Inversiones Pacífico Sur (IPS) has offered around R1.5 billion (US$86 million) for a 50.1% stake in Sun International Ltd. According to IPS, the move will help the South African company overcome the crisis caused by covid-19 and preserve jobs.
Nearly 65% of the water in Chile’s Salar de Atamaca region is used to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has caused groundwater depletion and pollution, forcing local quinoa farmers and llama herders to migrate and abandon settlements. It has also contributed to environment degradation, landscape damage and soil contamination, warned a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The International Monetary Fund has projected a 9.4% contraction of the GDP, worse than the 4.2% estimated in April. In a teleconference, the presidents of nine Latin American countries -including Chile- discussed with the senior executives of the IMF, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank ways to handle the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Latin American leaders asked for more solutions, including a “possible restructuring” of debt.
The Chilean green power unit of Italian energy major Enel SpA has started construction of the 144-MW Renaico II wind power plant. Enel Green Power Chile expects to invest some $177 million (€157.15m) in the project, which consists of the 58.5-MW Las Vinas and the 85.5-MW Puelche wind farms.
Chile’s Central Bank held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.5%, as expected by the market as the country suffers its most painful weeks so far of the coronavirus outbreak. Chile has kept its interest rate steady since successive cuts up until late March, when it warned of a “severe” economic contraction as a result of the virus spread.