Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A (NYSE:BLX) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Apr 17, 2019 • 09:00 am ET
Hello everyone, and welcome to Bladex's First Quarter 2019 Conference Call on the 17th day of April 2019. This call is being recorded and is for investors and analysts only. If you are a member of the media, you are invited to listen only. Bladex has prepared a PowerPoint presentation for -- to accompany their discussion. It is available through the webcast and on the Bank's corporate website at www.bladex.com.
Joining us today is Mr. Gabriel Tolchinsky, Chief Executive Officer and Mrs. Ana Graciela de Mendez, Chief Financial Officer. Their comments will be based on the earnings release, which was issued earlier today and is available on the corporate website.
The following statement is made pursuant to the Safe Harbor for -- and forward-looking statements described in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In these communications, we may make certain statements that are forward-looking such as statements regarding Bladex's future results, plans and anticipated trends in the markets affecting end results and financial condition. These forward-looking statements are Bladex's expectations on the day of the initial broadcast of the conference call. And Bladex does not undertake to update these expectations based on the subsequent events or knowledge. Various risks, uncertainties and assumptions are detailed in our press releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or should any of our underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may differ significantly from results expressed or implied in these communications.
And with that, I am pleased to turn today's call over to Mr. Tolchinsky for the presentation. Please go ahead.
N. Gabriel Tolchinsky
Thanks, Carrie. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. Before Ana Graciela delves into key aspects of our earnings results for the first quarter, I would like to discuss with you the economic and business environment in Latin America, important developments that took place during the quarter, and the impact of these developments on our perception of risks and on our financial results.
During the last two quarter's conference calls, we mentioned that the credit quality of our portfolio, cost structure and allowances for expected credit losses set the base to improve our earnings generation capacity. Our first quarter results are another step in that direction.
On the economic and business environment front, we started the year with high expectations for Latin America's economic growth only to slowly downgrade them as the quarter progressed. The larger context is not very helpful. The events that we have identified as key for emerging markets, Latin America and commodity-related industry, namely the effect of a strong US dollar, protectionist rhetoric on trade and tariffs and a slowdown of economic activity in China, Europe and the US, were not only prevalent but also intensified during the first quarter of 2019.
Additionally, political and macroeconomic uncertainty also impacted overall growth prospects for key countries in Latin America. In terms of the global context, after raising interest rates 4 times in 2018 responding to strong