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Country Insights

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Germany expels Russian diplomats
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 08 Dec 2019
On December 4 Germany expelled two Russian diplomats. Germany suspects the diplomats assisted in the assassination of a Georgian citizen Zemilkhan Khangoshvili in Germany. A Russian has been charged with Khangoshvili's murder. Khangoshvili had been labeled a terrorist by Russia. Under Russian law...

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Russian Military said to be active in Libya
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 08 Dec 2019
On December 6 the US announced that a US drone was shot down in Libya recently was destroyed by the Russian Army. This will raise tension between the United States and Russia. The US wants the wreckage back but the Russian Government denies all involvement and says it has no idea where the wrecka...

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​Gulf weekly: OPEC cuts, Aramco IPOs, Qatar hosts rivals and Qaboos has cancer tests
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 08 Dec 2019
The weekly is a skimmable summary of key developments by country, overlaid with our analysis and links to further information. Headlines include: * Aramco raised $25.6bn in its IPO, but foreign investors (mainly Gulf SWF) only provided $2bn. * Qatar’s Emir was invited to the Gulf Summit in Ri...

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Monthly inflation preview: the headline rate is set to rise markedly
HUNGARY - In Brief 08 Dec 2019
The November CPI-infation data is expected on Tuesday, December 10. In essence, the yoy headline rate is set to rise significantly on a fuel-price-related base effect, but no policy reaction whatsoever is likely to come from the MNB.More specifically, we expect the yoy headline rate to jump to 3....

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Magic in the air: the IMF reports on staff-level agreement with Ukraine
UKRAINE - In Brief 08 Dec 2019
An unexpectedly excellent news came yesterday from Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF. The decision was apparently made after a telephone call with President Zelenskyi. Volodymyr Zelenskyi, most likely, told to the Managing Director something what the IMF mission did not h...

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Russia agrees to minor oil production cuts
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 07 Dec 2019
On December 6 Russia agreed to reduce oil production in conjunction with OPEC . A meeting took place at Vienna. The 24 OPEC members produce 50% of the world's oil. Russia is not part of OPEC + and generally goes along with OPEC decisions. OPEC decided on a production reduction. The aim is to rais...

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Russian law requires Russian made apps on domestically produces devices
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 07 Dec 2019
On December 1 Putin signed a law that obliges all phones, computers etc... manufactured in Russia to have Russian made software and apps. This law was not made in concert with business. It takes effect July 1 2020. The apps to be pre-installed are not named.The Presidential Administration likely ...

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Ukraine allows private companies to make alcohol
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 07 Dec 2019
On December 2 the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) voted to end the state monopoly on the production of liquor. This law was a hangover from the Soviet era. The law also provides for the total liberalization of alcohol exports.The state liquor company Ukrspirit is due to be privatized. It has 41 facto...

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What’s driving the surge in real income?
RUSSIA ECONOMICS - Report 06 Dec 2019
Real income suddenly surged by 3.3% y/y in Q3. We haven’t seen such high income growth rates in six years. High real income growth has only been seen in periods of robust economic growth, or during periods of public sector pension and social benefits indexation. Neither occurred in Q3 2019. So th...

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Duque’s epiphany
COLOMBIA - Report 06 Dec 2019
The fate of the government’s tax reform proposal was, up until the beginning of the last week of November, a big unknown. It seems however, the worst part is over. During an infrastructure congress in Cartagena on November 21st, Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla spoke optimistically about...

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China's understated global loans
CHINA ADVISORY - Report 06 Dec 2019
Three economists in July published a paper at the Kiehl Institute in Germany arguing that China’s international lending is understated by a significant margin. The authors, Carmen Reinhart, Sebastian Horn, and Christoph Trebesch, arrive at a figure of US$4.6 trillion, which includes holdings of s...

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Manila’s water problems
PHILIPPINES - In Brief 05 Dec 2019
On Tuesday, Manila’s business elites found themselves at the receiving end of President Duterte’s latest tirade. The cause? A ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore for government to pay Manila Water, one of the metropolis’s two water concessionaires, P7.39 billion (~$145 milli...

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South Africa’s Q3 current account deficit narrows on the back of improved terms of trade
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 05 Dec 2019
Today the South African Reserve Bank released the latest current account data that shows the country’s current account deficit narrowed in the third quarter of 2019 - falling from R208.7 billion during the second quarter of 2019 to R190.3 billion in the third quarter, a narrowing of R18.3 billion...

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Russo-Chinese pipeline flows
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 05 Dec 2019
On December 2 the first gas flowed through the Power of Siberia Pipeline. This supplies LNG from Russia to China. The 3 000 km long pipeline is operated by Gazprom the Russian State gas company. The China National Petroleum Corporation is the partner on the Chinese side. In 2014 the two countries...

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Russia-Bulgaria diplomatic row
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 05 Dec 2019
On December 5 Russia kicked out a Bulgarian diplomat in reprisal for Bulgaria refusing a visa to a Russian defense attache. In October Bulgaria expelled a Russian diplomat for 'activities incompatible with diplomatic status' which is a euphemism for spying. Russia is Bulgaria's main energy suppli...