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Peru: Morning News Headlines – Friday July 6

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35 percent raise approved for University professors in Peru

(LIP-ir) — Peru’s Presidential Cabinet has approved a 35 percent increase in salary for State University professors, announced Minister of Finance and Economy, Luis Carranza. "This presidency is keeping the last presidency’s promises, therefore, there should not be any problems in this area," pointed out Minister Carranza, directing himself at University professors which are taking part in the teacher’s strike.

Protestors in Ucayali, Peru agree to a 10-day truce

After a long debate in a locality in Pucallpa, protestors agreed to suspend their strike for 10 days, hoping to speak to government representatives and present their reasons for concern. They have also warned that if there is no progress, the strike will continue. Prime Minister, Jorge del Castillo stated that Ucayali was making a responsible decision, he explained that it is important to keep the peace because violence will only scare away private investment.

Peru Central Bank Unexpectedly Raises Benchmark Rate

Peru’s central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate to a six-year high as strong economic growth fueled by domestic demand and metal exports threatens quickening inflation. Policy makers in Lima raised the country’s reference rate to 4.75 percent from 4.5 percent today. The bank described the move as “preventative,” citing “robust growth in domestic demand.” It was the first change in the reference rate, an average of lending and borrowing rates, since May 2006. All 11 economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted that rates would remain unchanged. “The central bank has been sounding some warnings about the strength of domestic demand threatening inflation,” said Neil Dougall, an emerging market economist with Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London. Before the announcement, Dougall said a rate increase would be a “major surprise.” Consumer prices in Peru rose 0.47 percent in June from May, and 0.49 percent in May from April, the two fastest increases since April 2006. That surge threatens to push annual inflation beyond the bank’s target range of 1 percent to 3 percent. (read entire article By Bill Faries at Bloomberg.com)

Telefónica: Hotspots set to grow 20% in 2007 – Peru

TdP now has 120 Wi-Fi hotspots in service across the country and its broadband unit Speedy has 11,000 Wi-Fi subscribers who generate 1.5mn minutes of internet traffic each year. The company offers Wi-Fi service through prepaid cards at an average cost of US$1 per hour. The increasing penetration of laptops and PDAs is boosting the use of Wi-Fi services in the country. Last year, 48,000 laptops were sold in Peru, an increase of 106% compared to 2005, TdP said, citing data from international tech consultancy IDC. A unit of Spain’s Telefónica (NYSE: TEF), TdP posted net profits of 81mn soles (US$25.5mn) in the first quarter of 2007, up 67% compared to 1Q06. Peru’s incumbent fixed line operator Telefónica del Perú (TdP) expects its Wi-Fi network to grow by 20% this year, the company said in a statement. (Business News Americas)

Govt awards local, LD licenses to Nextel – Peru

Peru’s ministry of transport and communications (MTC) has awarded a local fixed line and long distance telephony licenses to trunking service provider Nextel Perú, news service Agencia Andina reported. The concession covers 15 Peruvian departments for a 20-year term, but will expire if Nextel fails to sign the contracts within two months.
Nextel did not request licenses for the departments of Arequipa, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura, Ancash, Ica, Tacna, Lima and the Callao province, MTC said. "The company is showing its strategic intention to strengthen its position in the SME segment through the integration of mobile and fixed services," Carlos Huamán, executive director of local telecoms consultancy DN Consultores, told BNamericas. Nextel is currently offering mobile services in the capital Lima and another 11 cities on the coast, which is one of the higher income areas of the country. Huamán believes the company has a market share of approximately 5% in this segment. In order to launch fixed telephony and wireless internet services, Nextel will almost certainly use the infrastructure of Millicom, which it acquired in 2006, Huamán said. (By Juan Pedro Tomás Business News Americas)

Peru and Chile Drive LatAm MSCI Gains

The MSCI LatAm, a free float adjusted market capitalization index, rose 2.6% in June pushing gains in Latin American stocks year-to-date to 25.3%, according to a research note from UBS, yesterday. An 8.5% increase in the Peruvian component of the index and a 5.6% pickup by Chilean stocks meant Latin America outpaced slackening performance in other parts of the world. The MSCI World fell 0.9% returning 8% year to date, driven by a 1.8% decline in the USA component of the index. MSCI Japan fell 0.3% and MSCI Europe dropped 0.2%. A combination of Peru’s strong commodity outlook, benign economic data and strong fund flows kept stock prices buoyant in spite of higher than expected inflation. Similarly Chile was buoyed by healthy economic growth, robust copper prices and strong mutual fund flows. Higher inflation and Chile’s ongoing energy crisis have not tempered enthusiasm for Chilean stocks. Venezuela and Argentina lagged with Venezuela falling 5.2% on high inflation figures, socialist tax reform and oil nationalization. Argentina declined 4.1% on lower industrial production figures and mounting energy concerns. (Latin Finance)

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