Media and LatAm Navel Gaze: February 27, 2017

Mark Kollar,  Ligia Vela-Reid

‘FAKE NEWS’ FIASCO: The White House banned The New York Times and CNN, among a few others, from a press conference on Friday -- in what may be a first at least in recent memory -- but allowed a handful of outlets including those owned by Fox/Murdoch like The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones later said, “Had we known at the time, we would not have participated and we will not participate in such restricted briefings in the future.” Social media exploded and analysts debated but what few seemed to focus on what this means besides the obvious: What is the White House hiding? 

Elsewhere and heated:

  • Trump continued his screed at CPAC calling the media “the enemy of the people” and criticized “fake news” for its anonymous sources (a tactic he has reportedly used often to promote his business “news”;
  • The Times launched a new ad campaign on “truth,” which of course became Twitter fodder for 45;
  • Trump will present his agenda and vision to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday under the theme “Renewal of the American Spirit”;
  • The Dow extended its record-setting pace for the 11 straight days, closing Friday up 1 percent at 20,821 and up 5.4 percent for the year amid expectations that Trump will deliver on promises for infrastructure spending, tax cuts and relaxed regulations;
  • The Fed, meanwhile, strongly suggested that rates will continue to rise and maybe sooner than expected (like next month);
  • Trump said he would not attend the White House Correspondence Dinner while Bloomberg and Vanity Fair backed out of hosting any festivities;
  • Milo Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart;
  • Town halls erupted across America amid White House claims of staged protests, continuing the fake finger pointing;
  • Alphabet of Google parent fame sued Uber amid charges of stealing trade secrets on autonomous vehicle programs; and
  • Judge Wapner died.

LatAm Gaze: 

  • Argentina President Mauricio Macri visited Spain this week to encourage Spanish investors to resume investing in Argentina, with a particular focus on infrastructure investing. Separately, Argentina's state-run oil company YPF and Shell reached a preliminary $300 million deal to develop oil and gas assets in the Vaca Muerta region, one of the world’s largest shale reserves.
  • Brazil announced its third largest primary surplus in history for the month of January at R$18.968 billion (about US$6.1 billion), a 21.4 percent year-over-year increase, bringing subdued optimism that an economic turnaround may be in the works.  Separately, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, announced a merger with Brazilian company Votorantium. The deal comes as steel consumption suffers a long stretch of underperformance and companies look to cut costs.
  • Colombia unexpectedly cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 7.25 in an effort to stimulate an unexpectedly slow recent stretch of economic growth.
  • Peru's growing economy, driven by the hydrocarbon, telecommunications, and commerce & transport sectors, may be hindered by a new wave of corruption scandals that implicate both the country’s former president Alejandro Toledo and, as of this week, former president Ollanta Humala in bribery scandals related to Brazilian firm Odebrecht.
  • Wildfires continued in Chile, with over 3,000 people displaced.
  • End of Week Market Updates
    • Merval (Argentina):   -   2.87%
    • Bovespa (Brazil):       -  1.60%
    • IPSA (Chile):              -   0.14%
    • IGBC (Colombia):       -   0.71%
    • IPC (Mexico):             -   0.25%
    • BVL (Peru):                -    1.96% 

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