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Media and LatAm Navel Gaze: July 31, 2017

Mark Kollar,  Ligia Vela-Reid

Chyrons Ablaze: As we watched the next installment of Apprentice White House, the Mooch exploded in colorful language to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza in a widely publicized rant that really just served as the curtainraiser for Reince Preibus’s departure and retired General John Kelly entrance as the next WH chief of staff. A “beacon of hope” is how The New York Times described Kelly so all await impact and the Mooch’s next act. 

Elsewhere:

  • The White House tempest seemed to overshadow if only briefly the defeat of the health bill, leaving everyone questioning what is next;
  • Including AG Jeff Sessions, who at this moment continues to serve;
  • No-longer-serving-at-the-pleasure-of Sean Spicer is reportedly being courted by Dancing with the Stars for one of his next gigs, along with many other news shows;
  • Scouts Dishonor: Jamboree jammed as the national Boy Scout event was scotched with an inflamed speech by President Trump that took numerous wrong turns causing Scout alums and parents to voice concerns and even the executive chief of the organization to officially offer an apology and social media to offer numerous memes on new Scout badges;
  • On the positive news front, Foxconn said it will build a HUGE plant in Wisconsin (guess whose district?), bringing in 3,000 jobs at first and many more later;
  • And speaking of jobs: Outgoing GE Chief Jeff Immelt has been named among those being considered for the next Uber top job;
  • Somethings don’t last forever as the Libor rate may soon be phased out for newer models that may better reflect lending rates;
  • The Dow climbed 1.2 percent last week to close Friday at 21,830, a new record from positive earnings reports, while broader indicators lost a bit from the recent tech slump; and
  • The voice of Rocky and Nastaha (yes, the same person), died;

LatAm Gaze:

  • In Argentina, Banco Macro started the first ATM in the country that allows clients to withdraw money, deliver a civil status and obtain a proof of payment. The biometric technology allows the client who has already enrolled his fingerprint to withdraw his assets and obtain the proof of payment by only placing his fingerprint on the digital reader in addition to obtaining their civil status if necessary in the same operation.
  • On Wednesday, Brazil's central bank cut interest rates below 10% for the first time in nearly four years, keeping a fast pace of monetary easing as plunging inflation gave it freedom to aid an emerging recovery. The bank's nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, cut its benchmark Selic rate by 100 basis points for the third straight time to 9.25%.
  • In Brazil, foreign companies are poised to lead the electricity sector as government pushes for privatization. According to experts, this is due to the issues politicization by state-owned utilities like Eletrobras have caused.
  • The Chilean copper commission (Cochilco) yesterday raised its estimate of the average price of copper to US $2.64 a pound for this year, from an earlier forecast of US $2.60. The increase was due to lower world production, a greater demand from China and a rebound in the value of the commodity, which on Thursday rose 1.39% on the London Metal Exchange reaching US $ 2.86, its highest level since May 2015.
  • On Thursday, Colombia's central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 5.50%, a decision in line with market expectations. The Board pondered the growing weakness of economic activity, the reduction in oil price projections, the terms of trade for the remainder of 2017, as well as the uncertainty around the speed of convergence of inflation.
  • Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) reported a net profit of $32.780 billion pesos for the second quarter of this year, which reversed a loss of $83 billion pesos reported in the same period last year. This is the third consecutive quarter that the oil company reports a profit, which had not happened for eleven years.
  • Overall, Latin America has seen an important increase in its stock markets. So far this year, the Merval has risen 25.84%, the IPSA 21.63%, the COLCAP 9.32% and the Bovespa 8.39%, to name a few in the region. The interest of international communication, and especially by investors, can also be seen through strong inflows to this emerging group. Emerging Latin American economies have gained momentum in a favorable international context.
  • End of Week Market Updates
    • Merval (Argentina): + 0.80%
    • Bovespa (Brazil):  + 1.26%
    • IPSA (Chile): + 1.32%
    • IGBC (Colombia): +1.11%
    • IPC (Mexico): -0.68%
    • BVL (Peru): + 1.41% 

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