Harry Dempsey in London YESTERDAY
Latin American exporters have ended the year with a flourish after weaker currencies boosted their earnings and triggered a surge in production of goods such as sugar, coffee and copper.
Economic problems and social unrest across the region have combined to hammer exchange rates. The Brazilian real and Chilean peso hit record lows in November, forcing the countries’ central banks to sell dollars to prop up their currencies.
Most of the relevant commodity benchmarks are priced in US dollars, so a decline in the exchange rate means producers have been enjoying higher prices in local currency terms. Brazilian farmers, for example, were saved from the pain of a recent slump in sugar and coffee prices by a weaker real — down almost 6 per cent against the dollar this year