Ecuador economy

Last week Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s oil minister and the president of Opec, called for an extraordinary meeting of the oil exporters’ cartel in the face of falling prices. Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, Opec’s smallest member, rallied behind her saying prices were “unnecessarily low”.

They may not achieve much – Saudi Arabia and other Gulf exporters are against production cuts – but the calls will nevertheless be welcome in Venezuela, where the sudden collapse of oil prices has been especially bad news. Read more

Of the generation of radical Latin American leaders that have won office in the last decade, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa – perhaps best known internationally for sheltering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his country’s London embassy – is among those with the most successful record. He has reduced poverty, promoted faster economic growth and dramatically improved the infrastructure of Opec’s smallest member. Now, a controversial proposal that would allow him to run for office indefinitely is set to come before congress.

But as the oil price falls, can the president sustain the achievements of his “citizen’s revolution” that have underpinned his popularity? Read more

Anyone following events in Ecuador will know that Rafael Correa, the fiery president, is not one to avoid confrontation, as journalists, bankers and bondholders, among others, well know.

It seems he has found a new target: fast food, along with other threats to the nation’s health such as alcohol and cigarettes, on which he wants to raise taxes. According to the leftist president, with the proposed levy, “people will stop eating so many McDonald’s and Burger King hamburgers.” The move would also “favour the production of [Ecuadorian] food, our traditional gastronomy.” Read more

Groundhog day?

In February 2013, still aglow after being elected for a third term in a landslide victory, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador told the FT this would be his final term and that, in this regard at least, his foes could “sleep in peace”.

Those foes may now be having nightmares after his ruling party, Alianza País, launched a plan to remove limits on re-election for presidents and other officials, potentially paving the way for the firebrand leftist leader to don the red, yellow and blue presidential sash for a fourth time in 2017 and, who knows, thereafter at four-yearly intervals. Read more

Like Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder that it is sheltering in its London embassy, Ecuador and the state of its finances can be polarising subjects.

The debate is likely to be renewed again after Fitch on Friday decided to raise the Andean country’s credit rating by a notch, from B- to B. While the new rating still leaves the country – at five levels below investment grade – deep in junk territory, it is nonetheless something of a fillip for an economy that some think is on the verge of a crisis. Read more

Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s foreign minister, said on Monday from a hotel in Hanoi that his country was “considering” an asylum request from Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence analyst and whistleblower. Patiño stressed that his country was acting not on its “interests” but on its “principles.”

Fair enough. But what about the trade preferences between Ecuador and the US that are up for review next month, and which Patiño’s embassy in Washington appears to be lobbying hard to keep in placeRead more

Ecuador, the smallest of the OPEC members, is working hard to diversify away from a dependence on oil exports.

So now the country’s leftwing president, Rafael Correa, is pushing for a new law to fast track mining contracts and investments in the Andean country. Read more

Ecuador is on the brink of its biggest budget deficit on record. So there is talk of the Andean country biting the bullet and tapping the international debt markets for the first time since defaulting over four years ago.

Rafael Correa, the leftwing president seeking his second re-election next month, has been driving growth thanks to tax collection and public spending as the price of oil, which is Ecuador’s main source of revenue, has been losing steam. Could it happen? Read more

Ecuador’s tussle with the UK over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange might be dominating the headlines these days.

But investors would do well to pay closer attention to another battle that this small Andean country of 14.7m has been fighting: keeping its dollar-based economy intact. Read more

It’s been a week to forget for Ecuador. On Monday, the Andean country startled investors by posting its weakest quarterly growth in two years. Concerns that falling oil prices could cause the country’s current account deficit to widen to unsustainable levels have prompted at least one analyst to speculate that President Rafael Correa might need to turn to China for help in avoiding a liquidity crisis.

On Thursday, Ecuador went cap in hand – not to China – but to the Latin American Reserve Fund, the Bogotá-based regional lender for a $514.6m loan. Read more

With Ecuador’s cocoa crop coming in at about 4.5 per cent of world production, a miserable growing season is never going to rock the global market.

But given that Easter is upon us and Ecuador is the world’s biggest supplier of fine aroma cocoa, chocolate aficionados should spare a thought for the country’s farmers. Read more

Ecuador’s love affair with China’s deep pockets shows no sign of slowing.

Rafael Correa, the leftist president, told reporters in Quito on Thursday the Opec oil-producing nation was dropping a planned international bond issuance this year in favour of a $1.7bn loan from China that is currently being negotiated. Read more