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Maduro Needs Rain
VENEZUELA - Report 30 Mar 2016
The opposition hasn’t decided which path to take to force Maduro out of office before his term ends, whether to push for a recall referendum or to seek a constitutional amendment. Neither path would be easy: both would involve going through the government-friendly Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the...

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Two heads-up: Terror and referendum risks
TURKEY - In Brief 30 Mar 2016
I wish to share with my audience two time-sensitive pieces of information that I believe are pertinent to economic and market performance. Before I start, it is important to emphasize that I do all my research based on open sources and have no private information of the likelihood of either event...

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Lawyers Will Change (Almost) Everything for Peace
COLOMBIA - Report 29 Mar 2016
Executive Summary Colombia is a country of lawyers. The FARC has finally absorbed that lesson: to grasp power, instead of AK-47 held by poor peasants, it would need norms, regulations and jurisdictions. That is the stuff lawyers live for. In this vein, the FARC’s quintessential product is the Sp...

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New Fiscal Measures: Another Step Backwards
BRAZIL ECONOMICS - Report 28 Mar 2016
Last week Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa announced four proposals from the government in the fiscal policy field: renegotiation of the debts owed by the state governments; establishment of a primary spending limit; creation of a special spending contingency regime; and a change in the way the Ce...

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Week of March 28
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 28 Mar 2016
The PMDB’s decision to stay with or leave the governing coalition is seen as the Planalto’s first battle against the impeachment. The government is concerned about the impact of the PMDB’s departure on other allies. The STF may examine the appointment of former President Lula to the Civil House. ...

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The Labor Market Continues to Weaken
BRAZIL ECONOMICS - Report 28 Mar 2016
The latest CAGED data reveal another increase in net layoffs. A natural reaction of many of these workers is to become self-employed (or start doing odd jobs). All the same, the unemployment rate is growing: from about 6.5% at the start of 2014 it is now approaching double digits.

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A setback for the PPP program
PHILIPPINES - In Brief 28 Mar 2016
Just weeks after announcing that it will “gift wrap” $6.64 billion worth of infrastructure projects for the next administration by bidding out 10 to 11 public private partnership (PPP) projects before end-June, government suffered a major setback today as no bidders showed up for the auction of t...

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Weekly Tracker: Mar 27-Apr 2
TURKEY - Report 27 Mar 2016
PM Davutoglu announced that AKP’s draft Constitution will be presented to parliament by late May/early June, which means a general floor vote on a nation-wide referendum. We go further and claim that a snap election is a serious possibility. An American prosecutor ordered the arrest of Turkish...

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Meeting the New Challenges
PANAMA - Report 24 Mar 2016
The IMF’s Article IV report published on March 19th is in tune with our concerns and perspectives in regards to macroeconomic conditions: strong growth projections remain in place (around 5.9%-6% for 2016); the fiscal deficit in 2015 was 2.8% of GDP not the 2.0% that the MEF reported after the “a...

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Guatemala: Reverting to Normal
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 24 Mar 2016
After a rollercoaster year, with the political situation driving the action, Guatemala seems to be normalizing. Back are the days when corruption scandals erupted almost every month, and people were calling for the resignation of President Pérez and Vice President Baldetti -- both now in prison,...

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The MPC’s Not-So Surprising Move
TURKEY - Report 24 Mar 2016
Contrary to consensus, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut the O/N lending rate by 25 bps today, while leaving the other short-term rates (one-week repo and the O/N borrowing rates) unchanged (Graph 1). We are not too surprised with the move, as we had put the odds in favor of a cut of the O/...

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The list that haunts Brasília
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 24 Mar 2016
A leaked list of 200 legislators from 18 parties (including the PMDB, PSDB, PPS, PCdoB and DEM) who received bribes from Odebrecht Infraestrutura was received with apprehension in Brasília. The document is part of the 23rd phase of the Lava Jato Operation, focused on João Santana, responsible for...

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Economics: Economy Defies External Winds
MEXICO - Report 24 Mar 2016
The main driver of growth in the Mexican economy during 2015 was to be found in the internal market, especially on the level of private consumption. Diverse indicators show that private consumption’s growth dynamic continues to be driven by the firming of the formal sector labor market as both th...

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Politics: Crime, Graft Further Erode Gov’t Ratings
MEXICO - Report 24 Mar 2016
After having achieved passage of its agenda of structural reforms during the first half of its term of office, we believe that the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto should prioritize in its final three years in office work toward concretizing and assuring the full implementation of t...

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Gloomy and Difficult
ECUADOR - Report 24 Mar 2016
A group of retired officers attended a February 26th military ceremony clad entirely in black, then stalked off across the red carpet when President Rafael Correa began to speak. Correa called them “little naughties,” but his nervousness was evident, when he entered the ceremony surrounded by hea...