Herald morning quiz: November 22

Madagascar Expects Economic Turnaround in 2021 With 4.5% Growth

Madagascar, the world’s biggest producer of vanilla, forecast economic growth of 4.5% in 2021 compared with a 3.8% contraction this year.

The budget deficit is seen declining to 5.5% of gross domestic product next year from 6.3%.

Net fiscal revenue is expected to rise 38.5% to 6.4 trillion ariary ($1.6 billion). Expenditure will reach 11.42 trillion ariary from 10.64 trillion ariary a year ago. External grants of about $365 million are expected.

“The Malagasy state will continue to support national demand and supply by targeting job generating sectors such as construction, rural economy, handicraft and entrepreneurship,” the Economy and Finance Ministry said in a 2021 budget bill on its website.

The ariary may depreciate by 3.7% against the dollar on average next year. A rebound in tourism activities from the first quarter, higher exports and foreign direct investment will support the currency, according to the bill.

GE Signs Agreement to Develop Vietnam LNG Power Plant

General Electric Co. and a Vietnamese company signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an LNG power plant near Ho Chi Minh City.

The signing between GE and EVN Genco3 took place during an event with President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien in Hanoi on Saturday. O’Brien, in Vietnam for a three-day visit which includes meetings with government officials and a speech to international relations students, said the companies will develop a plant that will provide 3,600 megawatts of power.

GE will be contracted to install the gas turbine technology and some other equipment, and will take an equity stake in the project, according to White House officials accompanying O’Brien. GE will spend about $1 billion, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information isn’t public yet.

The Long Son LNG power complex will be in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, an industrial area on the coast near Ho Chi Minh City, the White House officials said. GE and Genco3 have been doing feasibility studies for two years to find a location for the LNG-to-power project, they said.

If the Ba Ria-Vung Tau province approves the project, the consortium will start the first phase with a goal of being operational by 2025, officials said. The project will also involve Pacific Corporation, Vietnam’s Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 2, or PECC2, as well as Mitsubishi Corp.’s local unit.

Macy’s Last Stand

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE: M) announced earnings. For the most part, they were treated with pessimism. The holidays, at least one prominent analyst said, will not rescue the storied retailer. And, the COVID-19 crippled economy of the fourth quarter could make its situation even more difficult.

Jefferies analyst Randal Konik wrote, just after the figures came out: “The outlook for holiday is depressed, and we don’t see how this company or the entire department store industry can ever recover from the share losses to discount/off-price and other e-commerce players. Bottom line … Macy’s is in a tough spot.”

There was not a single piece of good news in the earnings report. Revenue fell 21% to $4 billion. The company lost $91 million compared with a $2 million profit in the same period a year ago.

Macy’s had a complex presentation of its current situation in its earnings release. There was nothing to spur optimism.

Macy’s shares are down 47% this year. They have recovered some over the last month. However, it is not enough to show anything other than that the future is grim.

Putin Urges More Support for Poorer Countries During Pandemic

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the Group of 20 nations to help poorer countries overcome the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The main risk, of course, remains the likelihood, despite some positive signals, of mass, long-term unemployment and the accompanying rise in poverty and social dislocation,” Putin said on Saturday in a speech before a virtual G-20 meeting. “And the role of the G-20 is to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

The Russian leader also said that safe and efficient vaccines must be made available for all.

PRESENTING: A dating app ghostwriter and consultant who charges $2,500 a month shares what her job is like — and her best tips for creating the perfect profile

After Meredith Golden launched her business, Spoon Meet Spoon, in 2015, she saw steadily rising interest in her dating app ghostwriting and coaching services.

Today, she spends 12 to 14 hours a day helping clients create intriguing profiles on Bumble, Hinge, Match, Coffee Meets Bagel, OK Cupid, and more. Golden gets paid anywhere from $300 to perfect dating profiles to $2,500 per month to pretend to be her clients online by liking, swiping, and chatting with potential matches.

She recommended having a great first photo to optimize your matches and says online daters should avoid using apps after 5 p.m. on weekends if they're looking for a genuine connection.

"Sometimes it's just easier to get in the passenger seat and let someone else drive in the beginning — and I'm always ready to take the wheel," Golden said.

Subscribe here to read our feature: I charge clients up to $2,500 a month to ghostwrite their dating profiles and connect with potential matches. Here's my advice for perfecting your dating profile, and why I never message people on the weekends.

Herald morning quiz: November 22

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