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Media and LatAm Navel Gaze: September 4, 2017

Mark Kollar  Follow

Nothing understandably seemed more important than Harvey and its wake this week, with damage numbers coming in well above expectations, making it one of the biggest disasters in US history, with nothing natural about it. But what did become clear was that disasters are indeed political and editorials urged the need for speedy funding with no walls between the aisles.


  • North Korean continued to raise tensions claiming it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb amid threats from the US of retaliation if warranted;
  • The US expansion seems to be on a tear with GDP rising a robust 3 percent in the most recent quarter but overall unemployment falling a notch to 4.4percent in August and employment growth up a modest 156,000 jobs;
  • Stock markets climbed with the Dow up 0.8 percent for the week (and Nasdaq a strong 2.7 percent) to end at 21,987;
  • The number of fake accounts at Wells climbed;
  • France may be easing its labor laws (incroyable!) to the delight of the EU and corporation but not the workers;
  • The New York Times announced it is looking at philanthropy as a way to fund newsroom operations, a novel approach that may help special projects for the publisher (if not others one day);
  • Novartis released a blockbuster in price and in cancer therapy, approved by the FDA but costing nearly a half million dollars;
  • Britain and the world marked the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death with front-page coverage in the US on the Princess of Wales influence and transformation of the monarchy; and
  • Serena gave birth to a baby girl, the US Open champ of 2035.


Mexico’s government this week approved the launch of a new stock market expected to boost Latin America’s publicly listed company sector. The exchange, known as BIVA, is expected to launch in 2018. Nasdaq will support the exchange by providing necessary technology to facilitate the launch. BIVA will look to attract companies with market caps of US$28MM to $45MM.

In Argentina, a new English-language newspaper, Buenos Aires Times, will hit the streets after the closing of the legendary The Buenos Aires Herald (BAH), the newspaper that became famous and received international awards for denouncing human rights violations and disappearances during the last military dictatorship between 1976 and 1982. The newspaper will aim to cover regional news at the Latin American level, including finance economics and politics.

The Vice-President of ExxonMobil, Darren Woods, announced a US$200MM investment in Vaca Muerta, Argentina’s most prominent shale region.


On Wednesday, The Brazilian Court of Audit (TCU) condemned former Petrobras president José Sergio Gabrielli and a former state director for irregularities in the purchase of a Pasadena-based refinery in the United States. Gabrielli, along with the firm’s ex-international director Nestor Cerveró, were fined US$79MM collectively and US$10MM individually.

On Thursday, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s top economic officials resigned after the cancellation of a major mining project, weakening her center-left coalition before the November elections.

According to the Colombian National Statistics Department, the urban unemployment in the country climbed to 11.3% in July, up from 10.4% in the same month last year, standing at the highest level for that month since 2012.

Arcos Dorados Holdings, Inc., the largest independent McDonald's franchise in the world, announced that in the next three years it will invest more than $500 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. The company presented a plan that includes 180 openings in different countries; the modernization and incorporation of an innovative experience in its existing restaurants; generating about 13 thousand new direct jobs.

End of Week Market Updates

Merval (Argentina): +0.79%

Bovespa (Brazil): +1.20%

IPSA (Chile): -0.04%

IGBC (Colombia): +2.45%

IPC (Mexico): -0.57%

BVL (Peru): + 1.53%

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