Work halted at La Oroya

Otto at Inca Kola News has some good analysis on the work stoppage at La Oroya today.

From Reuters:

“Doe Run Peru has halted work at its sprawling La Oroya smelter after banks cut credit lines for the company.”

Also read my previous post about money and La Oroya. It remains to be seen if Alan Garcia’s pro-mining government will step in. Personally, I’m with Otto on this: Ira Rennert took the money and ran.

Leader of the Year: Alan Garcia ???

I just stumbled across this article in Latin Business Chronicle:

“What a year it has been for Peru. It managed to post its best economic performance in 14 years (and Latin America’s second-highest growth rate), post another jump in foreign direct investments, achieve investment grade and host key regional summits with Asia and Europe…Much of the credit goes to Alan Garcia…”

My first thoughts were something like “Madre de Dios… Ayude me pues!!!”. Now I have often said life in Peru has been great to me and there are a lot of wonderful opportunities here, but I find it disappointing that both the media and political / business establishment in Peru often view “progress” strictly in macro-economic terms, levels of foreign investment, nr of free trade agreements, etc.

The unfortunate reality is that the macro-economic gains Peru has made in the last 2 decades have not improved the quality of life of all Peruvians proportionately, hence Alan Garcia’s (and before him Toledo’s) low approval ratings. In addition, in light of the collapse in commodities prices I wrote about earlier, anyone who believes Peru won’t be affected by the global recession is dreaming.

The good news, I agree with Umair Haque that “this is no mere recession: it’s a tectonic global shift in savings, consumption, and investment”. There has never been a better time than now to tackle some of the issues that will improve the quality of life for all Peruvians, such as economy in the provinces, environmental protections, occupational safety, corporate culture, cost of home ownership, etc.

Finally, one of the accomplishments touted by Alan Garcia was the free trade agreement (TLC) between Peru and China signed at the APEC summit. Here’s a wildly speculative, yet extremely intriguing question about what will happen to La Oroya now that the Chinese are coming?