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Media and Latam Navel Gaze: July 24, 2017

Mark Kollar  Follow

Mooch Is in the House: Spicey is out and because the media love covering the media more than anything this switcheroo got ample airtime with Anthony Scaramucci’s first press conference as the White House communications director (and Sarah Huckabee Sanders as new press secretary) on a constant loop all weekend, where he apologized to the President for his past blasts (and also deleted them from his Twitter account), while praising him seemingly non-stop. What also was on constant repeat was the debate if he was qualified enough because of his lack of official government and communications experience.  No doubt, Scaramucci loves the limelight and TV so best bets are more exposure and more White House briefings than in the last few months. Big question:  Who will play Anthony on SNL? Elsewhere:

  • Efforts to repeal Obamacare failed for now, meaning any health-care reform is stalled for now;
  • US Attorney General Jeff Sessions will stay for now after President Trump said in a New York Times interview, I regret;
  • And speaking of that wide-ranging interview, which included the President’s comments on Comey (not good), Mueller (also not so good) and the investigation (“I’m not under investigation”), the marketing afterlife was HUGE with the NYT releasing the actual tapes to outlets to play verbatim, in a kinda rare move;
  • The Dow edged down a bit (0.3 percent) to close Friday at 21,580;
  • More packaged-food fights: McCormick is buying Reckitt’s food business in a $4.2 billion deal
  • Senator John McCain has brain cancer;
  • OJ Simpson will be sprung; Broncos beware; and
  • Pardon me is trying to become a presidential thing.


  • On Wednesday, Argentina posted a primary fiscal deficit of 144 billion pesos (US$8.4 billion), or 1.5% of GDP for the first half of 2017, beating the government target for a gap of 2% of GDP;
  • On Wednesday, the Brazilian central bank froze four bank accounts belonging to former President Lula da Silva due to his recent conviction on corruption charges;
  • The Brazilian government temporarily cut spending by $5.9bn Brazilian reais as it seeks extra revenues by potentially raising fuel taxes;
  • Mexican bakery product multinational Grupo Bimbo signed an agreement to acquire Chicago-based foodservice company East Balt Bakeries for USD$650 million;
  • Standard & Poor raised its outlook for Petróleos Mexicanos from negative to stable (BBB+ in global currency and A in local currency), highlighting a change in the National debt perspective. According to the report published by the agency, Pemex maintains a critical and strategic role for Mexico because of its important contribution to public sector revenues, which is backed by the Government in the event of an adverse financial scenario;
  • Venezuelan bond prices fell this week after President Nicolás Maduro once again called for a motion to re-write the country’s constitution, stoking fears among investors that a new constitution could include sanctions on oil exports, potentially triggering a default on these debts;
  • This week, BBVA projected an overall LatAm GDP of 0.8% for 2017 and 1.7% for 2018, following contraction of -1.2% in 2016. The bank cites Argentina and Brazil’s gradual emergence from recessions as key drivers. Moving forward, they view improving exchange rates and growing global demand as positive external drivers, while an increase in public-private partnerships in countries like Argentina, Colombia, and Peru will serve as strong internal forces. That said, they still view these GDP forecasts as low-growth when compared to their best-case scenario for the region (3% GDP growth) as well as the benchmark for developed economies globally (2% GDP growth).

End of Week Market Updates

Merval (Argentina):     -1.64%

Bovespa (Brazil):        -1.15%

IPSA (Chile):            + 0.19%

IGBC (Colombia):       - 1.59%

IPC (Mexico):            + 0.79%

BVL (Peru):               + 0.66%

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