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Foreign investment in Latin America still below pre-pandemic levels

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“It is necessary to articulate productive development policies with the attraction of high productivity investments,” Salazar-Xirinachs said

Despite a 40.7% growth from 2021, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Latin America continue to be below the levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday in Santiago by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

”This weak recovery shows how difficult it is for the region as a whole to reposition itself as an attractive destination for the establishment of new operations of transnational companies, after the end of the boom cycle of the price of raw materials and (of) high growth rates,“ ECLAC’s report stated.

The region also lost its share as a destination for global investments, representing 9% of the total, ”one of the lowest percentages in the last ten years and far from the 14% recorded in 2013 and 2014.“

Projections are far from encouraging. The region received US$ 142.794 billion in FDI in 2021, 40.7% more than in 2020. However, these levels are still 9.55% below 2019’s US$ 157.689 billion.

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As a whole, Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for only 9% of total global FDI, one of the lowest percentages in the last ten years and far from the 14% recorded in 2013 and 2014. ”In other words, even if 2021 is considered a year of recovery, the trend of almost uninterrupted fall identified in Latin America and the Caribbean since 2012 is not modified; given the global outlook for 2022, it is possible that this fall will continue,“ the ECLAC document cited in its conclusions.

”In a region with low overall levels of investment, foreign direct investment is fundamental for the design of a productive policy,” ECLAC Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs said in the report.

Brazil (33%), Mexico (23%), Chile (11%), Colombia (7%), Peru (5%), and Argentina (5%) were the countries to receive the most FDI in 2021.

In addition to Brazil, which always has a high incidence due to the size of its economy, the high growth of FDI in Chile (66%) and Peru (919%) in South America and Guatemala (273%) and Panama (163%) in Central America, explained most of the variation year on year, according to ECLAC.

The main investors came from the European Union and the United States, representing 36% and 34% of the total, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of mergers and acquisitions increased by 33%, which remains “one of the lowest levels of the decade.”

“In a global context in which mergers and acquisitions grew very significantly, in the region they only recovered from the fall that occurred in 2020,” ECLAC noted.

Foreign investors are particularly interested in electricity, gas, water, telecommunications, and oil refining.

In Central America, Costa Rica was the main recipient of foreign funding for the second consecutive year, while Guyana did the same in the Caribbean, with the arrival of the oil capital, surpassing the Dominican Republic, the leader in previous years. Guatemala’s “large-scale acquisition” in the telecommunications sector was also highlighted.

“To achieve a positive impact of Foreign Direct Investment, it is necessary to articulate productive development policies with the attraction of high productivity investments, in activities that support virtuous development processes in terms of inclusiveness, employment quality, environmental sustainability, innovation, and technological complexity,” Salazar-Xirinachs also said.

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OMERS names capital markets head as next chief investment officer – The Globe and Mail

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Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) has named capital markets head Ralph Berg as its next chief investment officer, succeeding Satish Rai.

Mr. Berg starts as CIO on April 1 after two years as global head of OMERS Capital Markets, where he oversaw the public-market investments that make up more than half of investment assets at the pension plan.

In April, Mr. Rai will move to an advisory role and plans to retire from OMERS late in 2024. He has been CIO since 2018 and also led OMERS’ capital markets arm during his eight years at the pension plan, while helping guide its expansion into Asian markets. He was previously CIO at TD Asset Management, a division of Toronto-Dominion Bank.

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Mr. Berg has been at OMERS since 2013. He joined the pension plan as global head of its infrastructure arm after a career in banking at Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG.

“Ralph is a proven investor and a seasoned executive,” said OMERS chief executive officer Blake Hutcheson, in a news release.

Mr. Berg’s successor as head of capital markets has yet to be announced.

OMERS had $119.5-billion of assets as of June 30 last year. Over Mr. Rai’s tenure as CIO, it has shifted more of its assets from public to private markets, which helped OMERS post steady results in the first half of last year, losing only 0.4 per cent despite difficult market conditions.

That came after two volatile years in the COVID-19 pandemic that included an 11.4-per-cent loss in 2020 – when OMERS marked down real estate and private equity holdings that were affected by strict public health measures – and a rebound in 2021 that saw the plan’s assets gain 15.7-per-cent.

As Mr. Rai prepares to step down, Mr. Hutcheson said: “I look forward to his continued commitment and counsel” in his advisory role.

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Ark Invest Cathie Wood: artificial intelligence chatGPT – CNBC

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Forget ChatGPT — an AI-driven investment fund powered by IBM's Watson supercomputer is quietly beating the market by nearly 100% – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Watson-powered ETF is beating a total market fund by nearly 100%.PhonlamaiPhoto/Getty Images

  • While the language bot ChatGPT has gone viral, a Watson-powered ETF is making nearly double the returns of the broader market.

  • The AI Powered Equity ETF is up 10.4% in 2023, whereas the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index is up 5.67%.

  • IBM’s Watson supercomputer helps balance the fund’s portfolio holdings.

The popular language bot ChatGPT has shown a humanlike ability to render articles, emails, and even dating-app messages. But if you ask it to generate a portfolio that can beat the market, it spits out boilerplate information and reminds you it doesn’t have access to live stock data.

Yet, the $102 million AI Powered Equity ETF (AIEQ), which launched in 2017, has been quietly fulfilling that request so far this year. Issued by ETF Managers Group in partnership with the fintech firm Equbot, the fund leans on IBM’s Watson supercomputer to balance its portfolio.

That 114-holding portfolio is up 10.4% so far in 2023, while the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF is up 5% over the same stretch.

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Still, as ETF.com highlighted, the former is actively managed, and thus more expensive than the benchmark fund, cutting into actual returns to investors. The AI-powered ETF charges 0.75%, whereas Vanguard’s costs 0.03%. Both funds include JPMorgan and UnitedHealth Group in their top-10 holdings.

Chris Natividad, the chief investment officer of Equbot, said the Watson-powered fund can look beyond standard market data and cull information from tweets and earnings calls, according to ETF.com.

“We’re focused on investment related data, looking at how these different types of signals impact security practices across different time horizons,” Natividad said, per ETF.com.

“The best days of the fund are still ahead of it,” he added. “And just as you’ll see ChatGPT’s responses change and evolve with time and data, so will our fund.”

Meanwhile, ChatGPT’s parent company, OpenAI, this month secured a $10 billion investment from Microsoft this month, and the technology continues to make waves across sectors.

Online media outlet BuzzFeed announced last week it plans to leverage the technology to create content, educators are warning about the bot’s repercussions in schools, and chipmakers are poised to cash in.

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