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Kocharyan’s trial sparks political crisis in Armenia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 24 May 2019
On May 18, former President Robert Kocharyan was surprisingly released on bail after spending 5 months in prison on pre-trial. The decision was completely unexpected because only five days before – the day the trial started - Kocharyan based his defence on the lack of legitimacy of the court, as ...

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The South African Reserve Bank remains dovish following the country’s general elections
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 23 May 2019
The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee has once again decided to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 6.75%, leaving the prime rate at 10.25%. The last time the Reserve Bank adjusted the repo rate was in November 2018 when it increased it from 6.50% to the current 6.75%, making th...

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Trade war hurting everyone
CHINA - Report 23 May 2019
Almost all major economic indicators are falling. Industrial output was up 5.4% y/y, back to its low January-February level, after its March rise. Fixed asset investment was up 5.7% y/y in April, down 0.6 pps from Q1. Retail sales of social consumption goods were up 7.2% y/y in nominal terms, ...

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The ANC’s self-cleansing? The promised renewal, or more complex plots?
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 23 May 2019
The first sitting of the National Assembly took place on 22 May 2019 in Cape Town. This marks South Africa’s sixth democratic Parliament with 358 members officially sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. The ruling party ANC (African National Congress) acquired 230 seats while the main opposi...

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Hysterics
UKRAINE - In Brief 23 May 2019
We wrote that the Ukrainian establishment is disoriented. We were wrong. Alena Shkrum, MP from Batkivshchyna party wrote that parliament is in hysterics. Whatever is the format of elections – majoritarian vote or the party lists – Zelenskiy takes the majority. Collecting 226 seats through the par...

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How China can and cannot retaliate on trade
CHINA FINANCIAL - Report 23 May 2019
Special points to highlight in this issue: * The mood changed dramatically in China last week, with Beijing now angrily criticizing Washington for its role in the trade negotiations. * Beijing’s change of strategy should be seen primarily within a domestic political context. President X...

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Capital flows and China’s RMB policy
CHINA ADVISORY - Report 22 May 2019
The RMB is supported by Chinese capital “round-tripping” Inward capital flows have been encouraged by Beijing through a variety of policies. These inward flows have helped to support the strength of the RMB. However, our interviews suggest the majority of this capital is, in fact, institutiona...

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Electoral law update failed today
UKRAINE - In Brief 22 May 2019
Parliament rejected to approve amendments to electoral law Volodymyr Zelenskiy proposed (proportional list instead of majoritarian vote and reduction of entry barrier down to 3% from 5% currently). The initiative was not even included to the agenda. Today it was time for Speaker of the parliament...

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Recent troubles and downgrades
INDIA - In Brief 22 May 2019
In previous reports, we have been watching the distance-to-default (DtD) of large private financial firms. Using data for 10 May, we had found that there were 3 large private banks (Federal Bank, IDFC First Bank, Yes Bank) and 6 large private NBFCs (Shriram Transport Finance, Edelweiss Financial,...

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Kolomoyskiy lawyer appointed head of president office
UKRAINE - In Brief 21 May 2019 1 response
Andrey Bohdan, lawyer of Ihor Kolomoyskiy was appointed head of the president office. Mixed feelings about this decision. Definately bad signal for the IMF in the context of Privatbank issues. However, me personally, i had a positive impression from his interview he gave to journalists after firs...

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Electoral law set to be changed
UKRAINE - In Brief 21 May 2019 1 response
Events are developing extremely fast. After consultations with Volodymyr Zelenskiy leaders of parliamentary factions reported today that early parliamentary elections will be on July 21. On the top of that MPs reported about an agreement to change election law and to cancel majoritarian votes. In...

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Economics: Ineffective strategies to rescue Pemex
MEXICO - Report 20 May 2019
Since international ratings agencies began downgrading Pemex debt late last year, the government has appeared to be flaying about in its efforts to placate critics, piling errors on top of contradictions and leaving the oil company even more vulnerable and devoid of prospects for improving condit...

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Politics: Implications of the new labor reform
MEXICO - Report 20 May 2019
The Mexican Congress passed a broad reform of the country’s labor laws a month ago, perhaps the most significant institutional change introduced in the less than six months the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been in office. The reform undoubtedly brings positive chang...

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A tragic week for the government and other weekly topics
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 20 May 2019 1 response
This is a crucial week for the government in the Lower House, with nine provisional measures on the agenda that risk expiring if they are not voted upon, including the regulatory framework for sanitation (PM 868/18) and the reorganization of the Executive branch (PM 870/19). The government releas...

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Costa Rica: Unemployment with stability
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 20 May 2019
In Costa Rica, President Carlos Alvarado stated in his first “state of the country” address on May 2nd that the country had been on the brink of a fiscal crisis in H2 2018, but that timely decisions by the executive branch and Congress -- in particular, passage of a fiscal reform law -- had put C...

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Russian GDP growth down to 0.55 in Q1
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 20 May 2019
Figures released on May 17 show Russia's economic growth reveals only 0.5% yoy growth in the first quarter of 2019. This is worse than the Ministry of Economic Development's anticipated 0.8%. By contrast Bloomberg said a survey of economists had predicted 1.2% growth.This is a dramatic slowdown f...

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Essential CIS Politics: May 2019
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 20 May 2019
* A very mixed month for Russia with short-term good news on oil prices and other sectors of the economy. National projects and economic growth continue to move at a snail’s pace. * The situation in Venezuela and Libya is very uncertain for Russia with Russia gambling heavily on its favored l...

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Prime minister Groysman resigns
UKRAINE - In Brief 20 May 2019
Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his inauguration speech was very harsh and critical on the work of the Cabinet of Volodymyr Groysman. It did not take long for Groysman to make a decision. He has just announced his intention to resign. He will be acting Prime minister till new Cabinet is appointed. But...

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Rate stability expected today on global risks, soft inflation and strong shekel
ISRAEL - Report 20 May 2019
Highlights: GDP growth reached 5.2% saar in Q1 2019. * Excluding import taxes, GDP growth was 3.7%, following 3.0% in Q4 2018. * PC growth reached 7.6%, exports: 6.2% and investments: 10%. Inflation surprised on the downside in April (0.3%), slowing to 1.3% y/y (from 1.4% in March)...

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Zelenskiy announced parliament dismissal
UKRAINE - In Brief 20 May 2019
Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his innauguration speach announced itention to dismiss the parliament. He also mentioned that MPs will have two months to do good things for the country meaning that he expects new parliamentary elections in July.