Marketplace Americas | Top Business & Finance Stories in the Americas
That’s what a slowdown looks like.
Marketplace Americas feels a little like Debbie Downer this week. It’s Jobs Friday and we had another bad report, marking three straight months of weak job creation in the US.
The top stories this week are not much more positive but we do have a video about a lavish cemetery for narcos in Mexico, a new environmental law in Brazil and a look at the goal-scoring prowess of Messi and Ronaldo.
AMERICAS EXCHANGE TRACKER (Thursday close, year to date performance)
(USA) Dow Jones: 12,393.45, + 1.44%
(BRAZIL) BOVESPA: 54,490.41, -3.99%
(MEXICO) Bolsa IPC Index: 37,872.95, +2.15%
(CHILE) IPSA Index: 4,318.16, +3.37%
(COLOMBIA)IGBC Index:14,586.57, +15.17%
THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS
USA: Economy slows – Marketplace Americas is kind of a downer this week. It is now a trend, we have had three straight months of weak job creation in the US. The general unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2% while the unemployment rate for Latinos jumped from 10.3% to 11%. The US economy is slowing down, Europe continues to struggle and now some of the largest emerging markets, like Brazil, are weakening. What does this mean for the economies of the Americas? Is it time for more stimulus? via Univision News
VIEWPOINT: I think we have a few slow months ahead in the US but if we can avoid a major crisis during the second half of this year we should avoid another recession. However, be on the lookout for an unexpected disintegration of the euro, a political collapse in a major economy or a damaging natural disaster (ie the 2011 Japan earthquake)—any of these could send markets and the global economy into a serious downturn. Stayed tuned to www.univisionnews.tumblr.com today for a closer look at the job numbers and some insight from Jordan Fabian on what it means for the US elections.
GLOBAL: Are we heading for another global recession? Uh oh. China, India, and Brazil are all slowing down simultaneously. A thought-provoking piece from Slate economist Matt Yglesias: America is still recovering from the Great Recession and Europe is melting down, yet from a global perspective, the economy has never been as healthy or prosperous. The world economy enjoyed amazing growth from 2002-08, took a small dip in 2009, and then went back to growing. Sadly the good news seems to be coming to an end in Brazil, China, and India, and that’s horrible news for us…via Slate
COLOMBIA: FARC release French journalist – Manuel Rueda writes: Colombia’s FARC rebels liberated French journalist Romeo Langlois on Wednesday afternoon, handing him over to a “humanitarian mission” that included a representative of the French government. Langlois works for the news channel France 24. He was kidnapped by the rebels on April 28th, while he was embedded with Colombian troops carrying out anti-narcotics operations in the southwestern Caqueta province. “I’m a bit tired, but I’m doing alright,” the French journalist said. “I hope the (Colombian) army continues to take journalists (on its military operations), because this conflict is not well covered”…via Univision News
BRAZIL: Stop your engines - Another auto maker pulls back in Brazil. According to the Wall Street Journal: Another luxury auto maker is pulling back on plans to invest in Brazil as a sharp rise in import tariffs and changing government regulations aggravate uncertainty about the country’s economic outlook and industrial policy. Jaguar Land Rover, the luxury-car unit of India’s Tata Motors, on Thursday followed Germany’s BMW in suspending plans to build a new plant in Brazil. “There is no clarity in terms of policy in Brazil right now,” said Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief executive, in a recent interview. Brazil increased a tax on imported cars by 30 percentage points late last year to cool imports. The government has since said it plans to toughen the rules for auto makers wanting to qualify as domestic producers
BRAZIL: An environmental compromise (or is it deadlock?) for farmers and the government - The Economist writes: Brazil’S gridlocked Congress often ends up passing contentious laws only after the combatants collapse in exhaustion. So it is with the revision of the Forest Code, a set of rules that apply to all privately owned rural land, not just plots in wooded areas. The code, originally approved in 1965, requires owners to keep native vegetation on parts of their land—80% in the Amazon, less elsewhere—and in erosion-prone and biodiverse areas such as riverbanks and mangrove swamps. But it was long ignored.
Since harsher penalties and enforcement were introduced in the late 1990s the ruralistas, as Brazil’s powerful farming lobby is known, have been trying to revise the code. On April 25th, after 13 years of arguments, rewrites and stalling, the final text landed on the desk of the president, Dilma Rousseff. It was far from the version she wanted. The president faced a difficult choice: to scrap the text and start again—which would probably be taken as a declaration of war by the ruralistas—or to make the best of a bad job. She chose the latter.
ARGENTINA: The informal currency market is booming – The Economist writes: From this week, any Argentine wanting to take a foreign holiday must not only provide his tax identification-number but also tell the tax agency (known as AFIP) where, when and why he is going. Officials say this violation of privacy is needed to fight tax evasion and money laundering. In reality, the reason is that the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is starting to run out of dollars.
The curbs have succeeded in cutting capital flight, from $8.4 billion in the third quarter of last year to just $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year. The Central Bank’s reserves, which the president has dipped into for public spending, have stabilised, at $47 billion. But this has come at a price: the economy is decelerating fast. And the informal currency market is booming.
BRAZIL: GE bets on Eike Batista – According to the WSJ: General ElectricCo. became the latest international behemoth to throw its weight behind the business empire of Eike Batista, providing cash and credibility as the Brazilian billionaire’s EBX Group moves through the expensive and risky phase of turning its many projects into operating businesses. On Thursday, GE said it would pay $300 million for a 0.8% stake in Mr. Batista’s holding company. The investment follows similar moves by IBM , Germany’s E.ON and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Corp.
** SPOTLIGHT ON TRADE AMERICAS**
Univision News is proud to be the exclusive media partner of The Trade Americas Expo
Latin Trade Group to Hold the First Annual Trade Americas Expo – Latin Trade Group will host the event in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank on June 12-13 in Miami at Intercontinental Hotel. Trade Americas Expo is a premier conference for small-and-medium-sized North American executives interested in learning about the growth opportunities and risks when trading with Mexico, Central and South America and Caribbean markets…you can register here
TOP TWEETS: #Brazil
@CNNMoney : Looking for a job? Try moving to Brazil. http://cnnmon.ie/L5EAs6
@viaSimonRomero: ‘I think we need to get an edge,’ says Klinsmann, coach of U.S. soccer team, after 4-1 defeat by #Brazil http://nyti.ms/KX2cBd
@Agencia_Senado: Mantega sees Brazil better prepared to face crisis #BrazilianSenate http://ow.ly/b9Jub
SOCCER BREAK: Why are Messi and Ronaldo scoring so many goals? Fernando Vila takes a closer look: In the 20th minute of Friday’s Copa del Rey final between Athletic Club de Bilbao and FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi checked to the ball with his back to goal, and one timed a square pass to Andres Iniesta. Messi continued his run forward while Iniesta waited for the perfect moment to slot the ball through the defenders. Messi took the pass in stride on the right side of Gorka Iraizoz’s goal. It seemed as if he didn’t have the angle. Instead, he rifled a shot with his right foot, high and to the near post. Iraizoz never even smelled it. It was his 73rd goal of the season (in all official competitions), a new record; while his arch-nemesis, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, has 60 goals in all competitions, an astonishing feat in and of itself…via Univision News
VIDEO: A lavish cemetery for narcos in Mexico – “Even in death they live the good life”, says Javier Valdez, coordinator of the Rio Doce weekly newspaper in Sinaloa, of the narco-cemetery that sits just outside of Culiacán, the state’s violence-ridden capital. Valdez guided Univision Investiga on an exclusive tour of the Jardines de Humaya cemetery, a place dotted with lavish mausoleums housing the remains of some of Sinaloa’s most notorious druglords. But even in death, they’re not safe from their enemies…via Univision News
USA: Walmart focuses on ethics at annual shareholders’ meeting - Hurt by a bribery scandal in Mexico and expansion troubles in China, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. emphasized its ethics and legal compliance policies at a gathering of global employees Wednesday. Thousands of workers, including 1,300 international employees, came to Arkansas this week for the retailing behemoth’s shareholders’ meeting Friday. But the celebration comes as Wal-Mart is overhauling its global compliance programs and conducting a large-scale investigation into its Mexican operations for possible violations of the U.S. law that prohibits bribery in foreign countries. So the world’s largest retailer infused its annual international employee pep rally—known for its country cheers and sales celebrations—with calls for greater integrity.
MEXICO ELECTION UPDATE
AMLO gains ground in latest poll – The Financial Times reports: Mexico’s leftwing candidate for the July presidential election has jumped in popularity and is now within sight of the long-time frontrunner, an influential opinion poll showed on Thursday. With just a month before Mexicans cast their votes, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who represents Mexico’s leftwing parties, shot up to 34 per cent from 27 per cent just a month ago – and 22 per cent in March.
The sudden rise in the Reforma newspaper poll places him just four points behind Enrique Peña Nieto of the centrist opposition Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), who is now on 38 points compared with 42 points in April. The figures are based on the “effective” vote, which strips out undecided voters. Other polls still show Mr Peña Nieto with a double-digit lead.
Social media vs TV, which will the have most impact? – The Economist writes: With a month to go until the presidential election, Mexicans switching on their televisions and radios can hardly avoid the candidates vying to win their votes on July 1st. In a country with more televisions than refrigerators, dominating the airwaves is crucial to being elected. Most people get their news through free-to-air television, a duopoly shared by Televisa and TV Azteca. Televisa, with about 70% of the audience, is forever associated in the public mind with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for seven decades until 2000.
Frustration with the duopoly has found a voice on the internet. On May 11th Mr Peña was booed out of the Iberoamerican University by students waving placards decrying the PRI and Televisa. His aides said the protesters were sent by a rival party, a line reproduced on television and in the next day’s newspapers. But in a video posted on YouTube, 131 protesters showed their IDs to prove that they were indeed students. Since then, a Twitter hashtag, #yosoy132 (“I am number 132”), has provided a rallying cry against Mr Peña and the television stations. Large marches under the Yo Soy 132banner have even been covered by Televisa.
THIS SUNDAY ON AL PUNTO with JORGE RAMOS
The best political show covering the Americas, every Sunday on Univision at 10amET/9amCT
**Jorge Ramos interviews David Axelrod, Sr Campaign Advisor Obama re-election campaign
**Iñigo Dominguez, Vatican correspondent for the Basque country
**Henrique Cymerman,discusses his book “Voices from the Center of the World”