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Money men.

Global markets have strengthened Latin American currencies against a weak dollar for the first time in years, which can be great for importers but makes exports less competitive. Colombia took action to weaken its currency to help exporters. Chile's peso, meanwhile, strengthened as booming copper exports brought in dollars. In Venezuela, hefty oil revenues have kept the country awash in greenbacks. President Hugo Chavez ordered the Central Bank president to quit unless he hands over US$1 billion to fund social programs.

"The dollar's fall seems endless."

--Carlos Silva, analyst at Colombian brokerage Balsa Ultrabursatiles (El Pais)

"We're in constant dialogue to find new ways to handle those most affected by this difficult reality of the exchange rate, like the agriculture sector."

--Alberto Carrasquilla, Colombian finance minister (Excelsior)

"Nobody wants to buy [dollars], because buying means losing money."

--Cristian Donoso, head of foreign currency trading at Chilean brokerage Banchile (El Mercurio)

"What exporters have to understand is that they should not be in the business of making or losing money on currency movements."

--Alberto Ramos, Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs (Bloomberg)

"The [Central Bank] doesn't owe the government anything."

--Domingo Mazo Zavala, Central Bank of Venezuela director (Union Radio)

"External conditions could not be better for emerging markets in general."

--Guillermo Estebanez, Latin America currency strategist at Bank of America (Bloomberg)
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Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:3VENE
Date:Mar 1, 2005
Previous Article:Honesty pays.
Next Article:A mighty wind.

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