Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about the Americas. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- Brazil’s annual rate of inflation rose to 10.5% in November, the highest it has been in 12 years. In a further blow to the embattled government Moody’s downgraded all its ratings for Petrobras, the country’s state-owned oil company, which is at the centre of a corruption scandal, and warned Brazil’s sovereign rating was at risk because of the country’s “worsening governability”.
PwC Canada acquired Cinovate, a leading Canadian Salesforce.com consultancy. PwC says the deal enhances its ability to deliver a suite of cross-industry, cloud-based Salesforce solutions to the marketplace for implementation by the firm’s more than 420 Salesforce-Certified technology consultants. Cinovate was founded in 2009 by Ron Caruso and Matthew Fidler, the firm’s Managing Partners. Cinovate’s operations will be integrated within PwC’s Salesforce Consulting operation, led by PwC’s Justin Wortley.
- Puerto Rico managed to avoid a default by paying all the principal and interest due on $354m of a category of bonds that carry government guarantees. The American territory made the payment by using money that had been set aside to pay a lower class of bonds next month. The island is struggling to cope with $72 billion in debt. Alejandro García Padilla, the governor, went to Congress this week to ask it to pass a plan that would allow Puerto Rico to seek a type of bankruptcy protection; he warned that “we have no resources left”.
- The Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in 9 years. The FOMC announced rate lift-off by raising the target range on the fed funds rate by 25 basis points to 0.25% - 0.5%. Moreover, in line with expectations, the FOMC and Chair Yellen delivered dovish forward guidance regarding the future path of rate hikes. Past episodes of first rate increases in a U.S. monetary policy tightening cycle were often accompanied by a flattening U.S. yield curve, and currency depreciations and/ or monetary policy rate increases in emerging markets. The close correlation with emerging market borrowing costs suggests that lift-off in 2015 may increase global financing costs, especially for vulnerable countries.