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The regime escalates conflict after the Bachelet report
VENEZUELA - Report 21 Mar 2019
Venezuela’s massive blackout is a sign of the serious deterioration of public services and the deepening humanitarian crisis. Maduro intensifies repression. Regime change becomes more urgent but the time horizon seems to lengthen. Allied countries, including the U.S., abandoned the "credible t...

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Lava Jato – Temer’s arrest
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 21 Mar 2019
​Former President Michel Temer was arrested today, Thursday, March 21, by the Rio de Janeiro arm of the Car Wash Operation. The warrant was requested by Federal Judge Marcelo Bretas, of the 7th Federal Court of Rio. The former president was arrested in São Paulo and is being transferred to Rio.

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Fidesz' membership in the EPP is suspended, the party undergoes a rule of law investigation
HUNGARY - In Brief 21 Mar 2019
The political convention of the European People's Party decided yesterday to suspend Fidesz' membership in the organisation until a freshly appointed three-member committee investigates Fidesz' domestic activities, to find out if those are in conformity with the EPP's basic values, especially in ...

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Coming soon: monetary easing 2
PHILIPPINES - In Brief 20 Mar 2019
The signal from BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno was clear, i.e., there is room for monetary easing. But will the Monetary Board cut policy rates when it meets tomorrow? Very unlikely, in our view. What we think will happen is a resumption of its policy to reduce the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) o...

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January BOP fundamentals do not support the forint's existing strength
HUNGARY - In Brief 19 Mar 2019
The forint has continued to strengthen against the euro recently, up by 2.5% between end-2018 and today's MNB fixing. Obviously, this started with the MNB's verbal intervention on January 16, and has been maintained since then by the expectation of an eventual policy tightening by the central ban...

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Nazarbayev resigns
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 19 Mar 2019
President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan resigned on March 19. Although he had been in poor health for some time his resignation came sooner than anticipated. He ruled the country for 30 years. He retains the official title 'Leader of the Nation' so he can remain the power behind the throne. He is the ...

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Steps toward the approval of Pension Reform
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 18 Mar 2019
President Jair Bolsonaro’s trip to the US is the highlight of the week. He will also travel to Chile. With the arrival of the Pension Reform proposal for the military in the Lower House, the CCJ should begin the debate on Pension Reform; the rapporteur will be chosen this week. In the economy, we...

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Economics: There is good and bad in AMLO’s first 100 days
MEXICO - Report 18 Mar 2019
The first months of the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have produced striking contrasts in economic matters, although clearly there have been more negative than positive ones. With its de facto impact on the economy dating back at least to late October, when he announced inte...

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Politics: The pros and cons of AMLO’s first 100 days
MEXICO - Report 18 Mar 2019
The balance sheet of President López Obrador’s first fourteen weeks in office is decidedly mixed. The political environment in Mexico clearly has been transformed, but it’s too early to determine the full implications of that shift, although we can say that the list of his positive accomplishment...

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Very weak economic activity at the start of 2019
BRAZIL ECONOMICS - Report 18 Mar 2019
After growing only 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018, or 1.1% in the year average (the same as in 2017), the economy has still not shown any signs of improvement this year. None of the numbers disclosed up through last week (industrial production, real retail sales and real revenues from service...

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Accelerating rental prices resulted in higher-than-expected CPI
ISRAEL - Report 18 Mar 2019
February's CPI (0.1% m/m, 1.2% y/y) surprised on the upside due to accelerating housing rental prices. Our inflation forecast for the NTM remains at the low end of the target (1.0%), on shekel strength and softening labor market pressures, offset in part by higher taxation. We still do not envisi...

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Ukrainian election - Zelenskiy pulls further ahead
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 18 Mar 2019
A polling company called SOCIS has found that Zelenskiy has almost 28% of voters committed to him. This is significant because this poll is only about people who said they are certain that they will vote. Zelenskiy's problem is that many of his supporters are first time voters - a demographic tha...

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Western tensions, fiscal excesses
TURKEY - Report 17 Mar 2019
Both the US and EU served notice that Turkey must change its ways to continue its membership in the Western alliance. The US threatens new sanctions if S-400s are purchased and aid to Maduro endures. The EU made it clear that Turkey should expect neither visa waivers nor negotiations on a new Cus...

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​Monetae Pax II
ARGENTINA - In Brief 15 Mar 2019
Although not genuinely unsurprising, February inflation data was still disappointing. The 3.8%m/m brought the annual rate to 51%y/y, accumulating 6.8% in the first two months of the year. As in January, the chief diver was not only utilities but also food. Moreover, once more a key component of t...

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Going with the Flow
CHILE - Report 15 Mar 2019
Economic activity in 2018 ended on a rather negative note. Activity re-accelerated in Q4, especially in non-mining, though growth velocity was well below that of H1. In January 2019, the Monthly Index of Economic Activity was hurt by very unusual and heavy rains in the Atacama Desert, supposedly ...

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It is high time to change the course of MNB policy
HUNGARY - Report 15 Mar 2019
The uptrend of consumer inflation continued at an accelerated pace in February. CPI-inflation now exceeds the MNB’s medium-term target by all existing measures, including core inflation adjusted for indirect tax changes, the central bank’s favorite index. Importantly, inflation rose in the face o...

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How to think about Chinese medium-term growth prospects
CHINA FINANCIAL - Report 15 Mar 2019
Special points to highlight in this issue: • China’s two national political sessions last week set off a largely expected series of announcements and a huge amount of analysis, with nothing fundamentally changing. Beijing still faces the same constraints and the same set of adjustment scenarios....

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Private credit for state ends
CHINA ADVISORY - Report 15 Mar 2019
China is quietly privatizing much of its debt due to an increasing shortage of domestic capital. This will have several outcomes: * A rise in off-balance sheet financing. * An increasing division between state firms that obtain state capital and local infrastructure and private companie...

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High speed rail to Nizhny Novgorod needs finance
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 15 Mar 2019
Prime Minister Medvedev ok'd the first part of the enlarged Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod high speed rail line. President Putin will have the final say though. This rail line is unlikely to make a profit. It will cost USD 9.5 billion. Only USD 3 billion dollars will come from Russian Railroads and the f...

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Most CCJ members support the government
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 14 Mar 2019
​The Constitution and Justice Committee of the Lower House was installed on Wednesday, March 13, and has 66 members and an equal number of alternates. It will be responsible for analyzing the constitutionality of the Pension Reform proposal. This is the first stage of proceedings in the Lower Hou...