Country Insights

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​GULF WEEKLY: Saudi & Qatar Q3 BoP, Dubai budget, Saudi activist sentenced
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 31 Dec 2020
A skimmable summary of key developments, overlaid with our analysis and links to further information. Headlines include: * Saudi’s Q3 current account returned to a 1.3% of GDP surplus, from a -12% deficit in Q2. * Qatar’s Q3 current deficit narrowed slightly to -7% of GDP as remittances rebou...

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Toward the age of the electric vehicle
INDONESIA - Report 31 Dec 2020
As the year 2020 quickly approaches its end, Indonesia is weighing the prospects for the country’s economy for the near term, as well as for the medium and long term. For the near future, the fight against the pandemic continues, with the prospect of vaccination becoming the biggest hope. The fir...

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Russia bans many German officials
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 30 Dec 2020
On December 29 Moscow added more names to the list of German officeholders who are forbidden to enter Russian territory. Russia has not announced the identities of those banned but said they are intelligence officers and defense ministry staff. The EU forbade certain Russian officials from enteri...

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Yearend note
PHILIPPINES - In Brief 30 Dec 2020
2020 has zoomed by but before the year closes, we leave our readers with the following charts of an extraordinarily eventful year that will leave its mark on the Philippine economy for the foreseeable future. We wish everyone a healthful new year.Source of basic data: IMFSource of basic data: PSA...

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Zelenskiy attempts to remove the Head of the Constitutional court after scandalous records released
UKRAINE - In Brief 30 Dec 2020
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordered to remove the Head of the Constitutional court Oleksandr Tupytskiy from his position for two months. Mr. Tupytskiy will remain a judge of the Constitutional court but he will not execute his duties for two months, the President Office explains. This move is t...

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Vaccination begins in Belarus as Russia mulls using Western vaccines
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 29 Dec 2020
On December 29 Belarus commenced providing V to the population. It is the first non-Russian country to do so. There have been 190 000 cases of coronavirus and 1 400 deaths. The low death toll has met with much scepticism. Minsk will vaccinate doctors, nurses and teachers before others. Belarus ne...

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Hungary using Russian coronavirus vaccine
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 29 Dec 2020
On December 28 Hungary took delivery of 6 000 doses of Sputnik V. Budapest is more pro-Moscow than any other EU state. Hungary is the first EU country to receive Sputnik V. The EU has not yet approved it. Hungary also has the EU's vaccine and is using it. Hungary might even start producing Sputni...

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Russia’s macro: Weathering the 2020 storm, looking for tipping points ahead
RUSSIA ECONOMICS - Report 28 Dec 2020
A year ago, we expected moderate GDP growth in 2020, a kind of muddling through seen in the past years. Inflation was supposed to decelerate slightly from the 3% reached in 2019. Hence we expected the key rate to be gradually cut by at least 100 bps. The current account and the federal budget bal...

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More problems for Ant
CHINA ADVISORY - Report 28 Dec 2020
This report is a quick comment on the latest statement by the PBOC on Ant. The Wall Street Journal Sunday reported that Ant is being forced out of the lending business. And that’s not the only encroachment on the fintech sector. According to Foreign Policy magazine (quoted by Business Insider), t...

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Despite rapid and massive vaccinations, severe limitations on activity imposed
ISRAEL - In Brief 27 Dec 2020
Weekly macro highlightsCorona: yesterday evening Israel entered its third closure, closing all stores except for food/pharma and allowing only deliveries from restaurants. Mobility will be limited to 1km from home. This closure is expected to continue for three weeks at least, until the number of...

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Russia has 3 million COVID cases
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 27 Dec 2020
On December 26 it was announced that a new milestone has been passed in the pandemic. Russia has the 4th highest number of cases on Earth. The government is still determined not to reintroduce nationwide lockdown. There are some regional lockdowns. 54,000 Russians have died of the virus. This is ...

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Argentina licenses Sputnik V
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 24 Dec 2020
On December 23 Buenos Aires approved the Russian coronavirus vaccine. No other country in Latin America has done so. The first batch of 25 million doses of the vaccine are arriving in Argentina on December 24. The Argentina authorization is an ''emergency'' one as in they have not subjected Sputn...

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Bad economic and epidemiological news at the end of the year: the slippery road ahead
PANAMA - Report 24 Dec 2020
Panama is the worst performing economy in Latin America, except perhaps for Venezuela. The first semester drop in GDP (-18.9%) was larger than the second worst, Peru (-17.3%), and twice the regional average of -8.4%. The third quarter followed the same pattern: -23.6% reduction in activity, where...

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Exports are surging
CHINA - Report 24 Dec 2020
Growth continues to be strong. Industrial output rose 7% y/y in November, reaching its fastest growth rate since April. Investment rose 2.6% y/y, and was up 0.8 pps from October. Consumption was the worst-hit macro variable of the pandemic. But retail sales of social consumption goods recovered ...

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Essential CIS Politics: December 2020
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 24 Dec 2020
• Russia has begun to vaccine the vulnerable against coronavirus despite doubts about Sputnik V. • E-commerce is surging in Russia. Ozon’s IPO is an example of this. • Peace is insecure between Armenia and Azerbaijan despite the presence of Russian peacekeepers. • Kazakhstan has begun a parli...