As Argentina’s economy enters crisis mode with the peso crumbling, nobody is watching more closely than the management of Repsol and its shareholders.

On January 29 the Repsol board will meet, as it does on the last Wednesday of every month. On the agenda will be the finer details of a proposal by the Argentinian government to compensate Repsol for having nationalised its controlling stake in Argentina’s biggest oil firm, YPF, in May 2012. Read more

There are two ways to read the IMF’s call on Monday night for Argentina to sort out its dodgy inflation and economic statistics by next March – or, uniquely, face expulsion from the international lender.

The first way is that the country will never comply. After all, railing against the IMF has been a rhetorical hallmark of the presidencies of Cristina Fernandez (pictured) and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. Read more

The week in emerging markets, including our most read, five things we have learned and some long reads for the weekend. Plus the week in a chart: Repsol’s YPF compensation deal. Read more

As the saying goes, it is not over until it’s over.

Nonetheless, last night’s putative agreement between Spain, Argentina and Mexico to settle the YPF-Repsol dispute looks promising – Repsol shares spiked over 4 per cent on Tuesday morning on the news – although there are several provisos. Read more

Pemex refinery in Tula, Hidalog statePemex, Mexico’s state oil company, has strenuously denied a report in Spain’s ABC newspaper which had said it was looking to team up with Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim to buy 10 per cent of Spanish oil group Repsol (Pemex already has 9.3 per cent) – all as part of a strategy to oust Repsol chief Antonio Brufau. The report cited ‘unnamed sources’.

Both sides are denying the deal. But boy, there’s a lot of media chatter about Pemex, Repsol – and YPF.

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Cristina Fernández likes to drive a hard bargain, especially when it comes to rapacious foreign investors. It plays well with her domestic audience. But her take-it-or-leave-it offers risk badly backfiring.

If her government really is going to decide unilaterally on a price for what Argentina owes Repsol for its expropriated 51 per cent stake in state oil and gas company YPF, as reports in local media suggest, and just dump the money into the Spanish company’s bank account in Buenos Aires, that will not be the end of the story. Read more

What is Pemex playing at?

Why would the Mexican oil company’s CEO go to the trouble of flying to Barcelona two weeks ago to explore the possibility of brokering a peace deal between Spain’s Repsol (in which it has a 9.37 per cent stake) and YPF, Repsol’s renationalised former unit, if Pemex was then going to vote against the deal at a board meetingRead more

Ollanta Humala, Peru’s president, likes to keep everyone on their toes when it comes to his ideology.

Having swapped his Hugo Chávez-esque rhetoric for an electorally palatable, Brazilian-inspired centre-left script as easily as if he was changing t-shirts, Humala has once again rattled investors with the suggestion that state-run PetroPeru should get back into oil and gas production by buying Repsol’s assets. Read more

Less than a year after Argentina seized control of YPF, could the state-controlled oil company be close to a deal with its former parent, Repsol of Spain, to develop rich shale resources in Argentina?

Such is the spin, it’s hard to know how to take this. No one has actually seen a copy of the deal which one source close to the negotiations claims has been sitting ready to be signed for more than a week. Read more

gavelJust when New York Judge Thomas Griesa must have been relaxing at having got Argentina’s holdout saga out of his court, another suit involving the country goes and plops into his in-tray.

This case this time? Repsol v. Chevron. The Spanish oil company followed up on its threat to sue any companies that sought to join forces with its expropriated former unit, YPF, to develop shale assets, and filed a complaint against the US major. Read more

YPF is going to market again. The renationalised Argentine oil company is still biding its time for an international bond issue – though that could come later this year or early next. But hot on the heels of its issue last month for some $320m , it now has another offer underway, for up to some $600mRead more

A public relations adage holds that bad news is best released on Friday, so that it’s published in the little-read Saturday papers. And it’s a fair guess that Argentina’s government had an inkling that new rules governing the country’s petroleum industry and public shares in private companies, quietly made public on Friday, would not be warmly embraced. Read more

The feud between Spanish oil company Repsol and the government of Argentina—which expropriated 51 per cent of the shares of its YPF subsidiary in April - was turned up a notch on Thursday. In the Spanish company’s earnings call as well as in an interview in an Argentine newspaper, Repsol executives claimed that the nationalised company was producing less than when they ran it, and was hiding several new petroleum discoveries—made while the company was private—for political gain. Read more

Executives at Repsol must be scratching their heads. They’ve barely set a foot wrong in the investor minefield that is revolutionary Venezuela, managing to sign some major deals with the government in the last couple of years.

But as far as Hugo Chávez is concerned, that’s not enough. For Venezuela’s pugnacious leader, the enemy of a friend like Argentina is also an enemy of his, it seems – and there’s little doubt about the fact that Argentina and Repsol don’t exactly see eye to eye right now. Read more

Tuesday’s meeting of YPF shareholders in Buenos Aires was most notable for its interminable length – more than six hours – and for decisions to ramp up investment and drastically cut the company’s dividend payout.

But investors will have to wait a bit longer to find out how the newly-nationalised oil company aims to revitalise its operations. Attempts to put questions about future plans were brushed aside. Read more

YPF, the Argentine oil company, has a new owner (the Argentine state); a new logo (complete with the Argentine flag) and, as the pro-government Tiempo Argentina newspaper put it, a new “dream team” of savvy professionals to run it.

So the big question now is: what is the new plan? Read more

When an avalanche of Spanish capital turned up on Latin America’s doorstep over the turn of the century, naysayers shuddered at headlines that welcomed the “New Conquistadors”. Latin America seemed to many to be a risky bet for Spanish banks, energy and telecommunications companies by comparison with the comfort zone provided by European markets.

Instead, the steady growth of Latin America has provided welcome relief for Spanish companies from the financial turmoil at home. But in recent weeks troubles in the old country have appeared to clip the wings of the Spanish companies in LatAm. A weakened Spain, indeed, seems to have lost political clout in the region. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

Repsol, the Spanish oil company whose majority stake in Argentina’s YPF will be expropriated by law this week, has taken some revenge, it seems – hitting Argentina where it will hurt as the southern hemisphere winter approaches by blocking a shipment of liquefied natural gas. Repsol had contracted 10 cargoes of LNG and if they are all scrapped, that will leave a big hole to fill. Read more

Will the nationalisation of YPF be good or bad for investment in Argentina? For those in doubt, here’s one sign that the answer is “bad”. Vale, the Brazilian mining giant, is preparing a review of its $5.9bn Argentine potash project to be presented to its board next month, Bloomberg reports.

“We are very concerned about the political situation and their whole environment in Argentina,” Bloomberg reported Murilo Ferreira, chief executive, as saying in a conference call with analysts. Vale is not alone. Read more

Winter appears to have come all of a sudden in Argentina, and low temperatures generally mean one thing: a scramble for gas. The nationalisation of YPF could throw a further spanner in the works, since Repsol won key contracts this year to supply Argentina with liquefied natural gas during the winter. Those contract are now in doubt. Read more