Daily Briefing – April 10, 2018

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Raúl Castro’s Unfinished Legacy: “This month, Cuba’s Raúl Castro will leave office at the end of his second term as president, having set in motion changes to the island’s economy, politics and social relations more sweeping than any since the revolution in 1959,” writes William M. Leegrande in America’s Quarterly. “As he steps down after a decade at the helm, those changes are still a work in progress.” Among the unfinished business: Only 21 percent of the 313 economic reforms adopted in 2011 have been completed, one fifth of the national budget still goes toward subsidizing failing state enterprises, and Cuba needs to attract more FDI. (Americas Quarterly)

Cuba to Showcase Commercial Potential in Lima: Cuban economic officials will present the nation’s commercial potential at the Summit of the Americas business forum, according to an interview in Prensa Latina. A five-person delegation, including Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, will emphasize the country’s export potential in medical services, pharmacueticals and biotechnology during the business forum April 12 and 13. (Prensa Latina)

Havana Club Projects Strong Sales: In an interview with the Cuban business weekly Options, the general director of Havana Club International (HCI), French Christian Barré, said he expects the company to sell 4.5 million cases of nine-liter bottles by the end of this year. While sales of Havana Club are rising in Germany and France, the highest increase is coming from sales within Cuba itself, thanks to record numbers of tourists (4.7 million last year). Sales of Havana Club have been rising steadily for years, growing from 3.3 million 9-litre cases in 2009 to 4.2 million cases in 2016. (Prensa Latina)

Hertzfeld Fund Showing Activity: Thomas J. Herzfeld recently purchased 5,000 shares of the Herzfled Caribbean Basin Fund (NASDAQ: CUBA), as many larger investors have added to their stakes in CUBA in advance of the coming change in Cuban leadership. Among the recent buyers: City of London Investment Management Co. Ltd., with added 181,996 shares in the last quarter to increase their holdings to 488,000 shares. Shares of CUBA – a mix of Caribbean equities that could benefit from a growing Cuban economy – opened at $7.09 Monday, above the one-year low of $6.73 and below the one-year high of $7.54. (Ledger Gazette)

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