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Small is bountiful

With Brazil and Argentina hors de combat and Mexico replete, bankers are busy looking for smaller Latin deals, including escape routes for burnt foreign investors.

It doesn't get much tougher than this in Latin American markets. The year was book-ended by the two events that had been most feared in 2001 - a massive sovereign default in Argentina, then a presidential victory in Brazil by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.



       

View graph.

But even with Argentina out of the markets for the foreseeable future, and Brazil's benchmark C bonds trading as low as 44 cents on the dollar at one point, capital markets in Latin America did not close completely. Rather, a new paradigm emerged.


The days when New York debt capital markets teams could make enormous amounts by lead-managing sovereign bond issues from the big-three Latin countries are long gone. Argentina is bankrupt, Brazil has no access to markets, and Mexico's financing needs are minimal. Total Latin bond issuance in 2002 will barely reach half of 2001's $32.5




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