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Comedian Zelenskiy to run for presidency
UKRAINE - In Brief 02 Jan 2019 2 responses
On the New Year night comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced his decision to run for presidency in real. He spoke on TV channel 1+1 which belongs to oligarch Igor Kolomoyskiy at the time when President Petro Poroshenko was making his traditional New Year speech for Ukrainians. This move was arran...

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Russian fashion industry stalls
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 02 Jan 2019
In 2018 the Russian market for fashion stagnated after several years of growth. Sales totaled RUR 2.6 Trillion. Inflation has led to consumer goods rising 4% in price. Falling incomes have led to consumers switching to mass market brands. This is true of clothes, shoes and accessories. Modis, Aus...

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​President Medina makes his mark in the Constitutional Court
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - In Brief 31 Dec 2018
President Medina has just left his mark in the Constitutional Court. As mandated by the Constitution, four of the thirteen judges that make up that court were replaced, and as expected, the new appointees changed the balance of power within the court. Although Medina did not manage to get full co...

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Fiscal consolidation expected following the elections, including tax hikes
ISRAEL - Report 31 Dec 2018
Highlights: Recent PC indicators point to some PC acceleration in Q418. Credit card purchases increased by 9.8% saar in Sept-Nov.Chain store sales increased by 1.7% in Sept-Nov, following -0.2% in the previous three months.Households are enjoying wage growth and full employment.On the other hand,...

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​Turkey in Syria: A realignment, more than an opportunity or risk
TURKEY - In Brief 30 Dec 2018
I thought the best New Year’s gift to our audience will be to leave them alone during the festive season, because most political news from Turkey is bad news. Alas, the tradition continues and I must end the year with the prediction of the “first crisis in 2019”.As much as the word crisis is over...

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Relatively good news for inflation: statutory minimum wages were announced for 2019-2020
HUNGARY - In Brief 30 Dec 2018
Finance minister Varga announced this morning that statutory minimum wages will be raised by 8% both in 2019 (starting from January) and in 2020. This refers to both existing wage thresholds, the lower one for unskilled labor and a higher one maintained for unskilled labor alike. The news came af...

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Russian Government approves VEB recapitalization
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 29 Dec 2018
Prime Minister Medvedev announced that VEB.RF will be recapitalized through subscription capital. VEB is a state corporation. VEB will now be a ''project financing factory''. Igor Shuvalov is its head and he plans to reduce its staff from 8000 to 3000.

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Economy in 2018, in pictures
TURKEY - Report 28 Dec 2018
Executive SummaryWe have decided to revive an old tradition of ours in this final report of the year, that of looking at the economics of the full year, (mostly) in pictures -- hoping that you’ll find it useful.Needless to say, 2018 was a very tough year especially for Turkey, as an emerging mark...

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Ending 2018 with confidence
INDONESIA - Report 28 Dec 2018
Executive Summary The month of December 2018 is set to end with greater confidence. Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated the last stretches of the Trans Java toll road on December 20, 2018, and on the following day holiday travelers started to utilize the road happily. Many Indonesians ce...

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Russian toll system operator to receive USD 1.75 Billion
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 28 Dec 2018
On 20 December it was announced that Platon, the Russian toll system operator, will receive USD 1.75 Billion from now to 2024. Platon organizes the charges for trucks to use the roads and then ploughs the money into road maintenance. Platon is administered through RT Invest Transport Systems. It ...

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Costa Rica: Two cheers for fiscal reform
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 27 Dec 2018
Executive SummaryCosta Rica’s significant political step, of congressional approval of the fiscal reform package, has generated mixed results. It brought some calm and lowered uncertainty, by building up confidence in the political system’s capacity to make decisions, even when unpopular measures...

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2019-2020 Outlook: Disorderly default
VENEZUELA - Forecast 27 Dec 2018 1 response
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In our 2019–2020 central scenario, Venezuela’s economy remains in a deep hole and the external deficit opens so wide that something has to give, though we don’t know what that will be. Venezuela is already going through a disorderly default on its external debt, even if so far i...

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Consumption dips as growth hits new low
CHINA - Report 26 Dec 2018
Executive SummaryTop leaders’ annual Central Economic Work Conference, held from December 19th to 21st, set countering the ongoing growth downturn as its main 2019 goal for the economy. Leaders pledged to cut taxes and fees “on a greater scale;” to increase the issuance of local government bonds ...

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Politics: Discontent with 2019 budget grows
MEXICO - Report 26 Dec 2018
Political OutlookThe administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent the Mexican Congress its full 2019 budget proposals on December 15. Given the absence of any significant changes to tax rates, the revenue side of that package has not attracted much controversy. The spending bill, ...

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Economics: Budget search for credibility lost
MEXICO - Report 26 Dec 2018
Economic OutlookMacroeconomic framework for 2019On December 15, Minister of Finance, Carlos Urzúa, sent the Mexican Congress the full Economic Package for 2019, which consists of the Criterios Generales de Política Economica (general economic policy criteria) text containing the macroeconomic and...