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Former President Jacob Zuma finally honors the State Capture Commission’s request to face the nation
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 16 Jul 2019
​In the State of Capture 2016 report by the ex-Public Protector, Thuli Madonzela, the former President, Jacob Zuma, was found to have been the key role player in state capture. The report was “an investigation into complaints of alleged improper and unethical conduct by the president and other st...

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Rosneft asks for huge tax break for Arctic exploration
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 16 Jul 2019
Igor Sechin (CEO of Rosneft) wrote to President Putin requesting an enormous tax break to enable his company to develop oil production in the Arctic Circle. Rosneft estimates it will spend anywhere between USD 80 billion and 135 billion. The tax exemption requested is worth about USD 41 billion. ...

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Pension Reform: The worst has passed and other weekly topics
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 15 Jul 2019
Congress enters its midyear recess on Thursday, July 18. The government may present details of the Tax Reform proposal it will sent to Congress. The economic team may announce economic stimulus measures. President Bolsonaro takes part in the Mercosur Summit in Argentina. Brazil takes over preside...

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Economics: Reality disconnect as the economy stalls
MEXICO - Report 15 Jul 2019
Almost all major economic growth drivers have stalled or are in retreat, particularly investment, and to a lesser extent both public and private consumption, while economic expectations continue to slip lower. So far the government’s efforts to reassure all stakeholders have proven, at best, poor...

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Politics: A new balance of forces under AMLO
MEXICO - Report 15 Jul 2019 1 response
Carlos Urzúa’s abrupt resignation last week as minister of finance cast a new light on the sorts of rivalries plaguing the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as well as the pitfalls of trying to manage such an ideologically diverse array of appointees. There is nothing p...

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Leading indicator report for Apr-Jun 2019
INDIA - Report 15 Jul 2019
Using the data now available, we are able to calculate the leading indicator for Apr-Jun 2019, but not the coincident indicator for this same quarter. We see a turning point in business cycle conditions in Q1 2018. The leading indicator gives us a sense of what will happen to the coincident i...

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The time has come to start lowering the interest rate
BRAZIL ECONOMICS - Report 15 Jul 2019
Ambitious objectives are rarely entirely achieved, but in the case of the pension reform, the most recent legislative developments indicate that the country is poised to take an important step ahead. Many actions in the fiscal field will still be necessary to reverse the rising path of the debt/G...

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Surprisingly hawkish message from the BoI
ISRAEL - Report 15 Jul 2019
Highlights: Policy rates remained on hold last week. * The BoI Governor's press conference and the macro forecast reflected a clear tightening bias. Governor Yaron sees the likelihood of a rate hike in "one of the upcoming decisions". He also said that Israel could tighten while other b...

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Populism at home, sanctions abroad
TURKEY - Report 14 Jul 2019
The S-400 crisis entered the next phase, with Ankara beginning to take delivery of some parts, as the Bloomberg claimed that the White House shall announce sanctions in the coming week. This is not the final scene. The politics author believes that Ankara still belabors until false hopes and mist...

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Turkey buys Russian missile defense system - weakens NATO
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 13 Jul 2019
Turkey has received the first parts of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. The US lobbied very hard against Turkey purchasing this system. The Turks also want to buy American F-35 fighter planes. The US is deeply worried that Turkey might allow the Russians to examine F-35 planes to assess ...

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A kind IMF
ECUADOR - Report 12 Jul 2019
GDP grew 0.6% y/y in Q1 2019, but the economic contraction is evident because q/q it fell 1% in this period. In fact, only exports contributed positively to GDP growth as they rose 3.9% q/q and 3.5% y/y. Private and government consumption, and investment showed negative q/q changes of 1.4%, 4.6% ...

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Electoral kickoff
ARGENTINA - Report 12 Jul 2019 1 response
The electoral campaign for the August 9 open primaries officially started on July 12. As they are mandatory and simultaneous, all candidates have to participate. However, as happened in previous elections, most political parties have already decided who will be their only candidate for the lea...

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The new administration will tap the market in a few weeks…and initiate a road show to remove Panama from the “gray” list of GAFI
PANAMA - In Brief 12 Jul 2019
The new economic team announced yesterday that they will test the capital markets with a US$ 2.7 billion placement. The main objective of the transaction is to finance the expected deficit by December and the payment of a big chunk of the arrears to contractors left by the previous government. Th...

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QATAR: White House visit provides boost amidst regional boycott
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 12 Jul 2019
The US is Qatar’s most important partner, commercially and politically. Qatar is also surprisingly important to the US, as evidenced by the Emir’s recent high profile reception. Strong US support bolsters Qatar, which is being boycotted by several neighbors. Trump is now very clearly on side, aft...

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UAE: Yemen exit should mitigate criticism and risks
GULF COUNTRIES - In Brief 12 Jul 2019
The UAE is rapidly withdrawing troops from Yemen, having been the largest foreign presence in the south.Its involvement in the war had drawn wide criticism and tarnished its international reputation.Its exit reduces the risk of blowback attacks (drones and missiles) and escalation with Iran, whic...

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KUWAIT: Capital markets will gain from MSCI inclusion and a new debt law
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 12 Jul 2019
Kuwait’s upgrade to MSCI emerging market status was enabled by reforms to professionalize the market and attract foreign investors. The impact of these changes, which drove earlier upgrades from FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones, has been positive in terms of inflows and performance, which should co...

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Zelenksy's party cruising to victory in Ukraine, as he speaks with Putin
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 11 Jul 2019
President Zelensky's party 'Servant of the People' is set to win easily in elections to the Ukrainian Rada (Parliament). An analysis of the various opinion polls shows that Servant of the People is due to score 47% of the vote. In second place Opposition Platform - For Life us due to win about 11...

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The Hong Kong capital channel
CHINA ADVISORY - Report 11 Jul 2019
Hong Kong is an important center for China’s financial expansion, globalization of the RMB, and trade relations. It is also a center for illegal capital flows and management of the strength of the currency through state proxies. Here we look at Hong Kong’s banking to understand its global lending...

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Pension Reform: Breaking down the vote
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 10 Jul 2019
The Lower House approved the main text for Pension Reform with 379 votes in favor and 131 against. The landslide vote represents another important victory for the government. It is also a win for Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), who was responsible for securing support. Maia also voted in favor of the prop...

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Rumor that Russian domestic shopping company will split
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 10 Jul 2019
Two years ago Sberbank and Yandex formed a partnership to promote e-commerce. They created an online market called Beru. Their platform for buying imported goods is called Bringly. Sberbank now considers this a failure but the decision to terminate the partnership is not yet final. In August 2017...