Media and LatAm Navel Gaze: May 30, 2017

Mark Kollar,  Ligia Vela-Reid

Trump spent his Memorial Day Weekend holiday unpacking from his first overseas trip amid reports of plans to shake-up the West Wing team and strategy, meaning heads likely to roll amid no doubt debates on if the problems are communications/messages or policies/procedures (or maybe both?). That following a trip of some binding with Arab leaders (who did literally roll out the red carpet) and clear strain with NATO allies on topics like Euro’s debt to the organization (a campaign promise) and climate change with lots of focus on protocol from handshakes to photo ops to the fact that Trump did NOT close with a press conference, a standard practice. 

Elsewhere:

  • Terror alerts were raised then relaxed in the wake of a suicide bomber attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK, killing 22 and injuring scores. Amid the concerns, the Queen tweeted about the great resolve of those in Manchester and Ms Grande announced plans for a benefit concert back in the city sometime soon;
  • Mark Zuckerberg gave the commencement address at Harvard, a Crimson dropout no less in a speech that gained lots of coverage because of well, its Zuckerberg, but also because Facebook’s closed-caption system of the speech went haywire, even misspelling Facebook;
  • The Russian links investigation continued with focus on son-in-law “back-channel” Jared Kushner, although on his overseas stump, Trump said he would not ease on sanctions;
  • Budget debates also continued after Trump submitted a 10-year plan that relied heavily on economic growth while cutting “safety net” programs;
  • The Trump travel ban hit judicial roadblocks and looks to be headed to the high court for a final decision;
  • The Dow ended the week 1.3 percent higher at 21,080, a gain of about 6.7 percent for the year;
  • A-Rod scores a gig with ABC News;
  • Blues legend Gregg Alman died; and
  • The romper thankfully seems to be peaking.

LatAm Gaze:

  • In Argentina, the Central Bank has retired $350 million banknotes, at a speed of up to 8 million per day, to improve logistics, security and storage costs for its financial system;
  • On Wednesday, Brazil’s president ordered the military to restore order in the country’s capital clashes between police and protesters. Tens of thousands of activists marched to Congress to protest President Michel Temer and demand to have him step down amid the latest corruption scandal;
  • In Brazil, the quarterly average of oil exports totaled 1.23m barrels a day, the highest quarterly average in history, rising 56% year-over-year;
  • Three major Chilean pharmacies are suing lender Transbank for monopolizing rates charged on credit products while providing no transparency on how these rates are established. The group is alleging that US$11 million in excesses have been charged based on this flaw in the system. Transbank insists that its rates are set by the government and as such has no control over pricing;
  • The Bank of Mexico reported a deficit of $6,859 million in its current account in 1Q17, although the capital account had a surplus of $15 million dollars during the same period. The current account deficit in the first quarter of 2017 was 2.7% lower than the first quarter of 2016; and
  • In Peru, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) is working to ensure a minimum pension for Peruvians. Due to an aging population and  fewer children, the Minister believes it is imperative for individuals to have a minimum pension along with voluntary products.
  • End of Week Market Updates
    • Merval (Argentina):    + 2.44%
    • Bovespa (Brazil):        +2.31%
    • IPSA (Chile):               +1.93%
    • IGBC (Colombia):       +0.47%
    • IPC (Mexico):              +1.24%
    • BVL (Peru):                 - 0.70% 

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