Earthquake near Cuenca causes no damage; Inflation rate remains low; Police catch leader of Esmeraldas killings; Tiny electric Chinese car enters the market

May 8, 2023 | 16 comments

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake centered about 20 miles north of Cuenca in Cañar Province Sunday night has caused no serious damage, according to the initial assessment by the national Risk Management Office. The earthquake occurred at 7:52 p.m and was felt in nine provinces, including Azuay, Cañar, Chimborazo and Loja.

According to the Geophysical Institute, the intensity of the earthquake was reduced by its extreme depth. “The epicenter was 90 kilometers below the earth’s surface, which muted its impact,” the institute said in a 9 p.m. statement. “Most reports near the epicenter reported one or two strong jolts but no prolonged shaking.”

Sunday night earthquake epicenter.

The Cañar Province Prefect’s office said it would perform a damage assessment Monday but said it had received no reports of damage.

Inflation rate remains low
Ecuador’s annual inflation rate measured 2.44% at the end of April, a decrease of 0.45% from a year ago. The rate is the second lowest in Latin America, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INEC).

Food and non-alcoholic beverages were areas of the highest inflation in April, rising 1.12%, the INEC reports.

Quito was the city with the highest inflation rate in April, at 2.80%, followed by Santo Domingo with 2.57% and Manta with 2.55%. The price of the basic family basket was $767.30. Cuenca is the city with the most expensive basic basket in the country at $800.40.

Police catch mastermind of Esmeraldas killings
The National Police announced Friday they have captured the man responsible for the murder of nine Esmeraldas fisherman two weeks ago. They claim the suspect, alias El Calvo, leader of the Los Tiguerones gang, is responsible for planning and ordering the attack on the fishing docks in Esmeraldas.

In the days following the attack, police arrested two teen-aged men who participated in the killings but said they were gang members following orders.

The ChangLi Si Pro electric car could go on sale soon in Ecuador.

According to police, the attack was the result of a dock workers’ organization refusal to pay for “protection services” from the Los Tiguerones.

Tiny electric Chinese car enters the market
The Chinese ChangLi Si Pro electric car, considered the cheapest automobile in the world, is going on sale in Ecuador. Importer Alexander Caldera says “several hundred” of the three-seat 323 kilo cars will arrive this week but will not go on sale until the government registration process is completed.

Under current import rules, the car would cost more than $3,000 but the signing of a trade agreement between Ecuador and China in the coming weeks could drastically reduce the price. “In other markets the ChangLi Si Pro sells for $995 to $1,150 and we hope the price will not be much higher in Ecuador.”

Caldera says the small size of the ChangLi Si Pro could be a deterrent for some buyers. The car is 2.5 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and 1.8 meters high. “This is a vehicle meant for urban conditions, not for highways,” he said.

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