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Country Insights

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Government evaluation
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 23 Aug 2019
VEJA/FSB Survey: Divided electorate and Bolsonaro's favoritism in 2022 The poll conducted by the FSB institute and published in Veja magazine shows that voters are divided over Jair Bolsonaro's government. While 48% of respondents disapprove of his governing style, 44% support it.

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Tighter Iran sanctions should boost oil prices in 2020
GULF COUNTRIES - Forecast 23 Aug 2019
Iran sanctions will take 1m b/d off the market in 2020 and its response will increase the geopolitical risk premium. The combination of these factors should boost oil prices to an average of $65-70 in 2020. This is a slightly out-of-consensus view, as most forecasters see prices as flat or fallin...

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What can China lose in Hong Kong?
CHINA ADVISORY - Report 23 Aug 2019
How important is Hong Kong to China? What will happen -- if and when the protests end -- to the “special” relationship in the financial sector between Hong Kong and the mainland? The argument is often made that China cannot afford to disrupt Hong Kong due to the important role it plays in providi...

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South Africa is unlikely to need IMF funding – for now
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 23 Aug 2019
There has been much speculations and political angst recently about whether or not South Africa will need to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance. This has come about due to South Africa’s mounting fiscal pressures, which in turn are mostly the result of the cou...

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US oil imports from Russia highest since 2013
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 22 Aug 2019
The US Energy Information Administration stated on August 20 that US oil and petroleum imports are the highest since 2013. The US bought almost 62 million barrels of crude or petroleum from Russia from January to May 2019. This is almost a 10% increase on the equivalent period in 2018. Russian oi...

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Baselessly labeled a “Currency Manipulator”
CHINA - Report 22 Aug 2019
Growth slowed in July. Industrial output was up 4.8% y/y, down 0.4 pps from both April and May, falling to a record low rate. The main causes were low investment and consumption, sentiment mostly driven by “trade war.” Investment was up 5.1% y/y, down 0.4 pps from Q2, and down 2.4 pps from Q4 201...

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The President signs into law the new credit bill, pushing for consumer debt write-off
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 21 Aug 2019
South African consumers have been hard hit by the effects of the country’s current tough economic environment, which is compounded by increasing living costs and rising unemployment. This has not only resulted in increasing total consumer debt, but has also led to total savings' being negatively ...

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Essential CIS Politics: August 2019
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 21 Aug 2019
More US sanctions on Russia are unlikely to have much impact. Large-scale demonstrations surprise Russia but peter out. The conflict in eastern Ukraine is largely calming down. Atambaev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, has been arrested after violent clashes around his home.

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​New risks loom large: HDP mayors and Idlib clashes
TURKEY - In Brief 21 Aug 2019
In our Monthly Report, I‘d written that Turkey’s risk topography changes every day like kaleidoscope, but the sum total hardly moves. Two new tail-risks emerged on the horizon about which I wish to warn our readers, before I tell the tales. First, it is no longer inconceivable that Turkish and Sy...

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US sanctions in Venezuela and Iran boost Russian oil revenue
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 20 Aug 2019
Russia earned an additional USD 905 million from November 2018 to July 2019 due to US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. The Russian Urals blend of crude has traded at premium to Brent. The OPEC production cut has also helped Russia. There is not much sour crude on the market. Urals is at its zenit...

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The paradox of losing before the elections
ARGENTINA - Report 19 Aug 2019 1 response
The unexpected electoral result of the primaries stunned the government and left the president with a paradoxical dilemma. How can Macri recognize a defeat if the actual elections have not yet taken place? And yet, how can he convincingly help in the upcoming electoral process, if the primaries s...

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Economics: What is measured can be improved
MEXICO - Report 19 Aug 2019
Last week we took up the results of Inegi’s most recent National Household Income and Expenditure Survey and the accompanying analysis by Coneval of how the varying forms of poverty are evolving, including evidence of significant setbacks recorded by some multidimensional poverty indicators that ...

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Support for the economic agenda and other weekly topics
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 19 Aug 2019
The Senate Constitution and Justice Committee will hold several public hearings on Pension Reform. On Friday, August 23, Senator Tasso Jereissati (PSDC-CE) presents a preview of his report. Minister Paulo Guedes discusses the Federative Pact with senators. Congress meets to vote on the LDO and ve...

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Politics: The National Guard’s enigmatic rollout
MEXICO - Report 19 Aug 2019
It comes as no surprise that security remains the most pressing problem on citizens’ minds today as 2019 is well on its way toward surpassing 2018 as the year with the highest homicide rate at least since 1989. The problem is highlighted by a resurgence of large-scale gangland massacres, especial...

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Russia keen to avoid a nuclear arms race
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 19 Aug 2019
On August 18 the Russian Minister Defense announced his country's intention to avert a nuclear arms race. The United States repudiated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty earlier in August 2019. The US alleges that Russia possesses a type of nuclear arms that are prohibited under the ter...