Media and LatAm Navel Gaze: March 6, 2017

Mark Kollar,  Ligia Vela-Reid

Trump kept to his very teleprompted script to a joint session of Congress last week, sounding confident as the industrialist, nationalist and upender to mostly positive responses from both sides of the aisle but the feel goodness about it all didn’t last long. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to remove himself from the investigation into the 2016 presidential race after it became clear that he lied to Congress about meeting with the Russian ambassador, bringing the count to two so far who give incomplete stories on Team Trump and Russia. 

Elsewhere:

  • Over the weekend, Trump tweeted with no proof that Obama had wiretapped his phones before the election, a claim that was rejected by the FBI chief;
  • Trumps also called health-care overhaul an “unbelievably complex subject,” cueing up delay cards;
  • We learned that we now watch YouTube as many as 1 billion hours a day, closing in on TV viewing as we upload – wait for it – 65 years of video a day;
  • Harvard Law Review names its first black woman as president, following in the footsteps of Obama, the first black at the helm;
  • Stocks continue surge, setting records above 21,000 level until it became murky clear that the Fed will indeed continue to hike rates as soon as this month and for some time to come;
  • The Dow ended at 21,005, up now 6.3 percent for the year;
  • Snap prices IPO and is valued at $24 billion, above expectations, with only the haters fading faster than the disappearing-message app function;
  • The New York Times redesigned pages A2 and A3 in a more roundup-y way, complete with an occasional mini crossword puzzle (edited by Will Short-er?); and
  • Apple said its next iPhone will be a little more bend-y;

 LatAm Gaze: 

  • Argentina’s Central Bank (“BCRA”) is launching an online electronic platform that removes the Treasury as an intermediary, thereby reducing the costs for banks to transfer money amongst each other. The platform encourages increased use of electronic payments as opposed to cash, and also allows for the financial markets to better define the value of the Peso, as opposed to that strictly coming from the BCRA.
  • This year, Scotiabank Mexico will invest about $3.5 billion pesos (US$179 million) to modernize its technology platforms, which is part of a broader, $1.7 billion (US$90 million) investment across the Americas, including Canada, Colombia, Peru, and Chile.  
  • AmBev, owned by Brazilian firm 3G Capital, the same group behind Kraft-Heinz’s recent takeover bid for Unilever, reported fourth quarter earnings of R$4.6 billion (US$1.4 billion) compared to R$4.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) during the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase was driven by strong sales in Central and Latin America. AmBev owns known brands such as Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona, and last year acquired SABMiller.
  • Nomura this week stood out as one of the only firms projecting an increase in Chilean economic growth this year, calling for a 1.9% expansion based on a resurgence in copper prices that they believe will drive growth.
  • Panama’s GDP grew by 4.9% in 2016, which was below consensus of 5.2% and far below the nation’s peak GDP growth of 10.8% in 2011 under the Martinelli administration, which has been in the spotlight for several corruption scandals.    
  • End of Week Market Updates
    • Merval (Argentina):   +   0.77%
    • Bovespa (Brazil):       +   0.19%
    • IPSA (Chile):              +   1.98%
    • IGBC (Colombia):       -    0.32%
    • IPC (Mexico):             +   0.78%
    • BVL (Peru):                 -   0.24% 

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