But this time he's doing something about it! Fed up with the lacklustre numbers, Correa has contracted a technical team from Argentina to review the statistics and decide whether there's some skullduggery going on amongst the fat men in suits. In Correa's words;
"If the data presented by the (BCE) technocrats is found to be false, they will be fired"*
Frankly, inviting Argentina to revise your country's macro numbers is like inviting Bill Murray to revise your drinks cabinet. Argentina's macro figures have been firmly fixed in the world of Kafka for at least 18 months, and getting an bunch of liars to check if your boyz are doing their job right is the economics joke of the year. So thanks to Correa picking up a few massage tips from the Argies, expect Ecuador's numbers (e.g. inflation 8.18%, FY08 GDP growth forecast 4.25%, unemployment 7.93%) so get suddenly and suspiciously better as we move towards the big constitutional vote coming at the end of the year.
However, it is interesting to see Correa worried about FDI (foreign direct investment) numbers announced by the BCE. In his words;
"Until November we had double the amount of investment than in 2006, and in December we had investments, according to the BCE, of less than U$300m."
Seems to this Otto that this has much less to do with the BCE cookin' da books, and much more to do with Correa&Co moving the goalposts every five minutes in the key oil and mining sectors. The way he has screwed around with companies exploring the region since the last part of 2007 punches a big hole in the will of other companies with interesting prospects to stump up money for detailed explorations, drilling, hiring new hands, drinking a few beers with other geologists in the evening, hanging out in 5 star hotels etc etc etc ad infinitum.
It's a case of having your cake and eating it, Rafa. You can't screw around serious, responsible investors that you proclaim as wanting to attract to the country and then later moan that investment has dropped away. Stands to reason. The vast majority of miners I know/know of in Ecuador are serious players and good corporate citizens. You tar them with the same brush as the speculative capital movers you despise, and this is what happens. All they want is a level playing field, you know..............
However, I would say that the fact he's caring about the FDI numbers can only be good for companies like my fav Ecuador-exposed stock Aurelian (ARU.to) going forward...yes, there are plenty of others, too. Time will tell. Have a good Sunday, dudes.
* Exact words in Spanish: "En caso de que no sean ciertos los datos entregados por los tecnócratas, se irán a la calle."