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Argentina – Standard & Poor’s ups country’s rating from B to B+ (November 2017).

S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term sovereign credit ratings of Argentina to ‘B+’ from ‘B’ as “the outlook on the long-term ratings is stable”. This action reflects greater confidence about the government’s political capacity to continue pursuing its economic agenda, resulting in more predictable economic policy and governance. In this context, S&P expects moderate but sustained economic growth in the next 3 years and lower potential volatility.

After its electoral gains, the government is aiming to eliminate distortions and promote investment while reducing tax pressure (Corporate taxes should be lowered from 35% to 25% within 5 years).

However, public-led infrastructure investment will continue to play a decisive role in driving growth. The Government, inter alia, foresees the construction of 7,000 km of roads. The total amount of the combined projects is estimated to $26 Billion and will be invested over 5 years.

Argentina – Election gives president Macri a legislative majority (October 22, 2017).

President Mauricio Macri’s governing coalition (Cambiemos alliance) won decisive victories in the 5 biggest electoral districts across the country in midterm elections of October 22, 2017 that were widely seen as a referendum for the center-right leader’s since he took office in 2015.

 In the closely watched province of Buenos Aires, Esteban Bullrich (ally of Mr Macri) defeated ex-President Kirchner. However, Mrs Kirchner was assured election to the Senate and to enjoy judicial immunity provided by a Senate seat considering all her current legal troubles, even though her party came in second behind Macri’s coalition. Two of the three Senate seats elected in the province of Buenos Aires went to party with the most votes, while the third was reserved for the second-place party.

The result will mean gains for Macri in both houses of Congress, and reinforce his ability to implement chances in the tax and labour laws which are for him necessary to improve the country’s economy. Those results are positioned him as a candidate for re-election in 2019, likely against Mrs Kirchner, and set up a very positive message for foreign investors .

Argentina – Update on Curupi Pora farm activities (October 2017).

Situation/weather: After registering a very wet cycle 2016/2017 (+20% rainfall in comparison with the historical average for the period July-June of 1,440 mm) with peaks and some flooding periods, the weather seems to normalized for now.

Cattle operation: Pastures affected by heavy rainfalls are recovering, we are soon going to sow 125 hectares with natural pastures to increase pasture-fed cattle. During the cycle, additional natural pastures are going to be sowed and also completed with AOT as well as with ray-grass.

Those sowing operations are made in order to enhance herbaceous vegetation to increase ultimately pasture-fed cattle.

Finally, 130 heads of cattle have been transferred to San Bartolo farm in Salta to be at work there, and we operate on 4,700 heads of cattle at Curupi Pora farm.

Water tank: After being delayed due to climate vagaries, the construction of the Australian water tank (400,000 liters of capacity) has re-started.

Argentina – Local news from Corrientes Province (October 2017).

Mr Gustavo Valdés, candidate from the Cambiemos alliance (pro Macri coalition) won the Corrientes Province’s gubernatorial elections which took place on October 9, 2017. The Macri administration is trying to capitalize the victory, ahead of 22 October, considered a definitive date for investors waiting to ensure they can look ahead to a business friendly congress.

 Another good news is the construction of a new port in Corrientes city. This will be the first port constructed in 20 years !

“Article from El Cronista dated 09/22/17”

Argentina – Mid-term primary election results (August 2017).

The surprising success of President Mauricio Macri’s political coalition in key Argentine provinces in a primary election has strengthened its position heading into October’s midterm legislative vote and given a boost to its pro-business economic reforms.

The primary election of August, 13 served as a referendum on President Macri’s administration and Cambiemos, his governing coalition in Congress. As a snapshot of voting intentions come October, Cambiemos strengthened its position nationwide, winning in 11 of the 24 districts.

The clearest example was evidenced in the Province of Buenos Aires, which pitted Esteban Bullrich against former President Cristina Kirchner. Mrs Kirchner had been widely expected to defeat Esteban Bullrich, the candidate of current President coalition. However, Bullrich virtually tied Kirchner in the Senate race which is seen as a major win for Macri. Even if she dismisses the corruption accusations as politically motivated.

A second-place finish would still grant Mrs Kirchner, a Senate seat, which would give immunity from arrest, although not from trial. Under Argentina’s election system, the winning party in each Senate race gets two of the province’s three seats, with the remaining seat going to the second-place finisher.

Short term results, Argentina’s stocks and currency markets were bolstered on 08/14/17 by the positive performance of Macri’s coalition. Those results have to be confirmed now in October.

Argentina – Mid-term elections (August 2017).

The campaign for the August primaries is on (PASO) and politics is starting to monopolise the attention. General elections will take place on October 22. Although activity is recovering and inflation is falling, this is happening too slowly and too unevenly across sectors and regions for most voters to notice by August. The economy may have more political impact in the October election. Mid-term elections will renew half the seats in the Lower House of Congress (127), and a third of the seats in the Senate (24).

The main contenders are the Cambiemos alliance (pro Macri coalition) and the two main opposition groups: the Front for Victory (FpV) coalition of former president Cristina Fernández (2007-15), which remains the strongest adversary to Macri in Congress, and the Renewal Front (FR) coalition led by Sergio Massa, perceived as a more moderate and cooperative faction of the Peronist political movement.

The most interesting contest takes place in Buenos Aires province where former president Cristina Kirchner decided to run for a seat in the Senate. The government needs to show it can beat the former president in her (and Peronism’s) stronghold. It may fail to do so in August, but will probably do it in October. Losing against her would raise the spectre for investors that “Kirchnerismo” and its business-unfriendly policies might return in 2019.

On the other hand, Cristina Kirchner must prove she is still relevant within the Peronist party, and worthy of consideration for a run for the presidency in 2019. Another very important fact is that she would enjoy judicial immunity provided by a Senate seat considering all her current legal troubles.

Argentina – Update on San Bartolo farm activities (July 2017).

Situation/weather: the farm is in very good condition and we have registered more rain then usually which is very good for the pasture we have replanted to enhance ultimately beef production as the unit is dedicated to fattening. Excluding rainfall distribution, our biggest challenge at the farm is the permanent control of the natural vegetation which is typical for the region of Salta (formerly a forest area with a subtropical highland climate).

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You can see below a lot where no chemicals or machinery/manual clearing have been recently applied versus a controlled one.

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As previously indicated, we are working in small-sized lots and increase on a ramp up basis the lots replanted with pasture and used for cattle fattening.

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Cattle operation: we have currently over 3,500 heads of cattle at the farm, all in very good shape as you can see.

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Weaning of baby calves will be done before year end closing, so that the beef production will be enhanced.

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Our new farm manger, Juan who joined us after the previous manger of the farm has been promoted to Curupi Pora farm, has a strong experience in managing similar cattle units in Salta region.

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Pro-actively, Juan and his team have repainted all outside of the facilities and re-commissioned old used equipments.

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Argentina – Devaluation of peso halted on July 6, 2017 after record highs against the US dollar with an FX of 17,5 (July 2017).

The largest devaluation since President Mauricio Macri‘s administration lifted capital controls  in 2015 came to a halt on July 6, 2017 after the intervention of state-supported and major private banks. For nine consecutive days the peso had climbed against the dollar, starting with an exchange rate of 16.11 pesos to the US dollar on June 26 to a pick of 17.50 pesos, until finally falling back to 17, 27 before the close of markets.

“Article from the Buenos Aires Herald dated 07/07/17”

Argentina – Update on Curupi Pora farm activities (July 2017).

Situation/weather: as previously indicated, the farm has been affected by the recent heavy rains which caused flooding situation and damages in the province of Corrientes. Local authorities are putting in place a plan to help farmers affected by the floods and storms.

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Cattle operation: the farm is now recovering and pretty well for our cattle herd (4,900 heads currently) thanks to the emergency measures taken by the COO of Campos, Mr Gustavo Listello and implemented very efficiently at the farm level by the entire team (management of pastures, land drainage, transfer of the baby calves to Salta in San Bartolo farm which limited the increase in death of this more sensitive category, etc).

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Silage & pasture-fed cattle: Grass-fed beef not only is lower in overall fat and in saturated fat, but it has the added advantage of providing more omega-3 fats (about twice as many omega-3s as a grain-fed one). In addition, meat from pastured cattle is also up to four times higher in vitamin E than meat from pure feedlot cattle. The meat is also more mature and has a more pronounced taste than the one coming from intensive feedlots you can find for example in the US and only grain-fed. A combination of both may be optimal to produce beef.

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Here also the ray grass sowed in March has been delayed in development due to the excess rain and floods registered earlier this year.

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Corn silage : 229 ha have been sowed and harvest hasn’t start yet due the heavy rainfalls registered. Yield are also expected to be lower then forecasted (4,75 tons/ha planned). Rain by penetrating in the corn cobs while the plant was developing, damaged the grain as you can see on the pictures.

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Water tank: the construction of the Australian water tank (400,000 liters of capacity) was delayed due to the climate vagaries registered. We will continue construction once the soil will be completely drained. Given all accumulated water and the season, the termination of this new water facility is not currently a priority.

ARGENTINA – Climate vagaries have extended with heavy rains and storms in Corrientes region (May 2017)

From 05 to 25 April (20 days), Corrientes region was facing big storms and rains as you can see on the pictures. 570 mm of rainfall were registered for this month (200 mm for the single day of 25 April) versus an historical monthly average of 189 mm (315 mm were registered in April 2016 which was already a wet month).

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Several roads were affected – here you can see impacts on road n°12 from Corrientes to Possadas. Electricity cuts occurred several times during the month.

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No serious damages were reported so far for Curupi Pora farm and Tata Cue forest (access to the forest is complicated currently). However, we anticipate a contraction in the forecasted beef production of Curupi Pora farm due to animal stress and pasture contraction related to this weather event.

Weather forecasts for end of May so as for June are not encouraging – heavy rainfalls are, again, forecasted. This situation could create delays in silage harvesting (corn) use to supplement the herd in Curupi Pora farm .

Baby calves are the more sensitive category and need food supplementations given their morphology  while awaiting to be to transferred to Salta in San Bartolo farm for fathering process (they need to be in good shape to withstand transport). If weather conditions do not permit silage harvest, we will be forced to purchase food supplementations which has a cost and we might register an increase in death of baby calves.