LATAM Airlines Group faces bigger challenges outside Brazil, as competitors in Peru and Chile attack

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During the sharp economic downturn that has engulfed Brazil for more than a year the LATAM Airlines Group has benefitted from less challenging conditions in the domestic markets of its Spanish speaking countries - Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. But during 2Q2016 weakening economies and currency pressure in some of those markets, along with growth by LATAM's competitors, created challenges for the company in those countries, particularly the Peruvian and Chilean domestic markets.

Some of the competitive pressure in Peru's domestic market should ease in 2H2016, which should benefit LATAM for the remainder of the year. The company is making a significant international push from its hub in Lima in 2016 and early 2017 with the introduction of eight new markets, six of which are regional routes within South America. LATAM's expansion from Lima should allow the company to leverage North-South traffic flows for connections through what is its third largest hub measured by seat deployment. Despite bleak economic conditions in many Latin American countries, LATAM continues to leverage its diversified network to grow in markets where it faces few, if any, competitors.

The weakness in Brazil's domestic and international markets remains status quo. However, conditions in the country's domestic environment do not appear to be deteriorating as rapidly, which is a welcome sign for LATAM because Brazil still represented 28% of the company's system capacity in 2Q2016.

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