By Shreyashi Sanyal

Oct 9 (Reuters)Most major currencies in Latin American were set to end the week higher on Friday, with Brazil’s real leading gains after economic data through the week showed signs of improvement, while a weaker dollar also offered support.

The real BRBY, BRL= strengthened 1.3%, heading for its first weekly gain in five as data showed a pick-up in Brazil’s services sector last month. Another report showed a record reading on retail sales for August.

Investors, however, worried about Brazil’s public finances after the introduction of a new fiscal bill, called Renda Cidada, fanned fears about the government overshooting its spending limit.

FX analysts at Commerzbank said that given the uncertainty about the pandemic’sprogression and its economic impact, it is unlikely that disagreements about the consolidation of national finances will be resolved soon.

Mexico’s peso MXN= was on track for its second week of gains after the country’s government unveiled an infrastructure investment plan worth nearly $14 billion earlier in the week.

Latam currencies also got a lift from the dollar =USD, which fell to three-week lows on Friday as optimism that a deal for new U.S. stimulus would be reached, and as investors bet that Democrat Joe Biden is more likely to win the U.S. presidency and offer a larger economic package. FRX/

Analysts say a Democratic sweep could also bode well for emerging markets.

“Biden is a much more risk friendly candidate, given his international credentials for multilateralism and predictability and a far less disruptive trade policy,” said Alan Ruskin, macro strategist at Deutsche Bank.

The Colombian peso COP= also headed for weekly gains, getting a boost from rising oil prices. O/R

Chile’s peso CLP= was among the few losers for the week, as it tracked

By Gram Slattery and Carolina Mandl

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A consortium of Brazil’s 3R Petroleum and Norway-linked DBO Energy is in bilateral talks with Brazil’s Petrobras to purchase a cluster of offshore natural gas fields, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Peroa cluster, located off the coast of Espirito Santo state, would be among the first all-gas offshore fields sold by Petrobras amid a larger push to break the company’s near-monopoly in Brazil’s natural gas value chain.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA , as the state-controlled firm is formally known, has long dominated most segments of the Brazilian natural gas sector. But in recent years, it has begun selling off pipelines and assets in transport and distribution, in a move the company and the government hope will spur competition.

Several international firms already produce significant amounts of natural gas in Brazil, as they operate oilfields where so-called associated gas is removed during the production process. Much of that gas is simply reinjected into the ground, however, and few are producing at standalone gas fields.

Petrobras and 3R did not respond to a request for comment. DBO declined to comment.

In 2019, the Peroa cluster produced just short of 1 million cubic meters of gas per day, though it produced several times that amount in recent years. The cluster also includes the Malombe prospect, discovered in 2011, which studies indicate could produce up to 2.5 million cubic meters daily if developed.

Due in part to Peroa’s mature profile, it is expected to be sold for a relatively low price compared with other production assets being offered by Petrobras in the area, said the sources, who requested anonymity due to the confidentiality of the matter.

Rio de Janeiro-based DBO is composed of Brazilian and Norwegian executives,

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Testing of Russia’s “Sputnik-V” COVID-19 vaccine has not begun in Brazil, while its British and Chinese rivals have already begun to file partial results from clinical Phase III trials, the Brazilian health regulator Anvisa said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A nurse prepares Russia’s “Sputnik-V” vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for inoculation in a post-registration trials stage at a clinic in Moscow, Russia September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo

Brazil’s Paraná and Bahia states, which have testing and production or distribution agreements for the Russian vaccine, have not yet filed requests for clinical trials in Brazil, a spokeswoman for Anvisa said.

“There have been numerous meetings, physical and online, with no documents on the Russian vaccine materializing yet,” she told Reuters.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is marketing the Sputnik, touted by Russia as the world’s first registered vaccine, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, trials for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca Plc , and another potential vaccine by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd are being conducted at a dozen sites and initial data sent in to Anvisa.

“This is still not a formal request for registration of these vaccines. We will only consider that when all the documents have been filed,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

To speed up the process, Anvisa last week started a process of continuous filing of paperwork and initial results so that they can be studied simultaneously.

With the second most deadly coronavirus outbreak after the United States, Brazil has become a key testing ground for the vaccines under development.

Anvisa has authorized trials in Brazil for four vaccines, including those under development by Pfizer Inc in partnership with BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.

Brazil has had almost 5 million confirmed

Brazil’s economy is set to shrink by 5.8 percent in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said Monday, revising up an earlier forecast but warning the country faced “excpetionally high” risks.

“The economy is projected to shrink by 5.8 percent in 2020, followed by a partial recovery to 2.8 percent in 2021,” the IMF said in its annual report on Latin America’s largest economy.

The report released Monday revised upwards the more pessimistic forecast of a 9.1 percent contraction in June.

Aerial view showing factories at the Manaus Duty Free Zone (ZFM), Amazonas state, Brazil, in September 2020 Aerial view showing factories at the Manaus Duty Free Zone (ZFM), Amazonas state, Brazil, in September 2020 Photo: AFP / Michael DANTAS

It praised the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro for its “swift and substantial” response to the economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The government increased health spending, boosted financial support for state governments, extended state-backed credit lines and introduced employment retention schemes, which helped protect formal jobs during lockdown.

“The strong policy response averted a deeper economic downturn, stabilized financial markets, and cushioned the effects of the pandemic on the poor and vulnerable.”

A man holds his Brazilian working document during a weekly job fair in Rio de Janeiro in June 2019 A man holds his Brazilian working document during a weekly job fair in Rio de Janeiro in June 2019 Photo: AFP / MAURO PIMENTEL

However, it warned that given a sharp rise in primary fiscal deficit, gross public debt is projected to jump to around 100 percent of GDP in 2020, remaining high over the medium term.

An excavator pushes earth over coffins at a mass grave at the Nossa Senhora cemetary in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil in September 2020 An excavator pushes earth over coffins at a mass grave at the Nossa Senhora cemetary in Manaus, Amazon state, Brazil in September 2020 Photo: AFP / MICHAEL DANTAS

“Risks are exceptionally high and multifaceted,” the Fund warned, “including a second wave of the pandemic, long-term scarring from a protracted recession, and vulnerability to confidence shocks given Brazil’s high level of public debt.”

The South American giant

By Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, Oct 5 (Reuters)Private equity firms Warburg Pincus WP.UL and Gavea Investimentos are planning an initial public offering by Grupo GPS, a Brazilian facilities services provider in which they are key stakeholders, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Part of the proceeds of the offering, which are expected to reach 3 billion reais ($537.44 million), will go to the two private equity firms, with the rest going to the company for possible investment purposes, one of the sources added.

The company has hired investment banking units of Goldman Sachs GS.N, Itau Unibanco ITUB4.SA, BTG Pactual BPAC11.SA, Citigroup Inc C.N, Morgan Stanley MS.N and Bank of America Corp BAC.N to manage the IPO, according to the sources.

Founded in 1962, GPS has more than 86,000 employees and 2,400 clients, according to its website. It provides services such as cleaning, security, logistics and catering for companies.

If successfully listed, GPS will be the first facilities company listed on Brazil’s stock exchange, B3 SA.

Warburg Pincus and Gavea acquired minority stakes in GPS in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

The company, which has bought up a series of smaller rivals, consolidating an extremely fragmented sector, posted net income of 192 million reais last year.

GPS would be the third Brazilian company in which Warburg Pincus has a stake to go public this year, following pet store chain Petz PETZ3.SA and logistics company Sequoia Solucoes Logisticas SEQL3.SA, whose IPO is expected to price later on Monday.

($1 = 5.5820 reais)

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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