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LatinNews Daily - 28 April 2021

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In brief: Paraguay cuts growth forecast as pandemic worsens

* Paraguay’s central bank (BCP) has released its latest monthly report on monetary policy, in which it has revised down its GDP growth forecast for this year. The BCP now projects 3.5% growth in 2021, down from a previous forecast of 4%, citing the “worsening of the health crisis” because of rising coronavirus (Covid-19) infections and the “slower than expected” immunisation of the population against Covid-19. This downwards revision came the same day that the finance ministry announced new aid measures to help the economic sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, as stricter restrictions on movement have come into force until 10 May. The measures announced by Finance Minister Óscar Llamosas include a 50% subsidy on electricity and water bills between July and December, a 50% reduction in value-added tax on the rent of commercial establishments, the strengthening of the Fogapy, a fund destined to provide loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the distribution of food baskets to workers.