Friday, 16 January 2009

Earlybird, Jan. 16, 2008

Headlines for Thursday, Jan. 16:

U.S. -- Bank of America Gets $138 Billion in Government Aid (Bloomberg): Well, this news made me wake up soooo early!!!! The acquisition of Merrill is backfiring. In the face of disappointing banking numbers expected for the last quarter, BofA's numbers will tell us more about its plans to abandon the takeover. A previous Bloomberg story on the matter said regulators insisted the ''Merrill deal proceed because its collapse would renew turmoil in the financial system,´´ according to remarks made by anonymous sources.

U.S. -- More Government Aid Underway (Reuters): Lawmakers will probably get their act together and before Friday they will have ready approved the disbursement of the second tranche of the TARP -- just hours before Barack Obama's inauguration.

BRAZIL -- The Dream is Over: Lula Acknowledges That 600,000 People Lost Their Jobs in December (Estado): Well, President Lula might now be taking more seriously the proposal by Vale CEO Agnelli. Unfortunately, one setback occurred yesterday: Força Sindical, the union that has more than 7 million affiliates, suspended negotiations with the São Paulo State's Federation of Industrialists (the most powerful industry lobby.) Força is the only union in the country that seems to understand the gravity of the situation and would be ready to put the interest common (cutting worker benefits and reducing work hours) before class vested interests. There's no free lunch, but ... attitudes such as Força's are very much needed at this moment.

BRAZIL -- Companies' Clout Grows, May Win Lower Wage Benefits (Estado): That's my view. Estado doesn't say it -- I do. unions will be convinced by Lula (yes!) to back off from their stubbornness and renounce to some of those prerogatives at least temporarily. Brazil wins if that chronic labour regime is dismantled, at least for a while. This is the news story of the year -- it has political, economic and financial implications of great extent.

COLOMBIA -- Marulanda Testament Revealed; Acnowledges Negative Impact of Army Victories on FARC (Cambio): The old Pedro Antonio Marin, ''Sureshot´´ or ''Tirofijo,´´ warned his successors that it will take years to restore the name of the FARC in international circles. And that poor Chavez, Correa and Evo Morales will be victimised for their open support to terrorism in Colombia.

PERU -- Drop in Remittances to Hurt Middle Class (Comercio): It's funny that remittances rose just after the crisis blew out -- to me it was the temporary effect of the rise in the dollar. But now that millions of jobs are being destroyed in the U.S, and other developed economies (like Spain), there is no reason for family transfers to remain unchanged or rise.

VENEZUELA -- Car Sales Dropped 45 Percent Last Year (Universal): Well, the crisis is afflicting Venezuelans, who not long ago had to wait more than a year to be shipped a new car.

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