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Latin America: benefitting from downturn?

Latest export figures from Latin America suggest the continent may be benefitting from the global economic gloom.

In Brazil sparkling wine exports were up 18% in value for the first three months, with much of the wine going to America and Germany, Wines from Brazil said

Overall exports were also positive. Brazil aims to export US$6m this year, with US$2.3m already confirmed for January to April.

In Argentina bottled, tetra and bag in box exports grew 15% in value, and 3% in volume in the first quarter, said MRT.

The growth follows a good 2008, and compensates somewhat for the recent slide in must and bulk exports.

In Chile, after a slow start, export volumes increased 21% in March, and 15.5% in April. Values are down about 11% however, as drinkers squeeze budgets, and exchange rates pushed some prices higher.

At the higher end there was also positive news. In Peru, Tacama – which produces wines in the $10 to $40 bracket retail – said export values were up 10% in the first quarter. This year its wines also made the list at Alain Ducasse’s Paris restaurant, Spoon.

‘Gradually people are making the switch,’ said Max Morales, a Chilean marketing consultant who organises high-end tastings.

Morales said for the first time he was getting concrete ‘where can I buy’ emails from America and other countries, as people seek quality at about 30% less than their normal US$70 – US$100.

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Written by Sophie Kevany in Lima

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