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Country Insights

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Official date confirm our estimations of deceleration
PANAMA - Report 26 Dec 2018
Executive Summary According to data published by the Comptroller's General Office last week, real GDP grew 3.6% in Q3 and 3.6% from January to September. In YTD terms, growth was driven by transportation and communications, commerce, health and social services, realty and services to business, fi...

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US withdrawal from Afghanistan has pros and cons for Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 25 Dec 2018
Trump's 22 December announcement that he will withdraw most troops from Afghanistan is good news for Russia. Its influence in Russia will be enhanced. Former USSR countries in Central Asia will be even more heavily reliant on Russia than before to help them against ISIS and the Taleban now that t...

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Low inflation and elevated global risks support rate stability in January
ISRAEL - Report 24 Dec 2018
Residential completions accelerate in 2018, while starts slow Residential completions accelerated in 2018. In the first 9 months of the year completions reached an annual level of 50.3k compared to 48.3k in 2017 and 46.1k in 2016. We expect total residential completions to approach 51k units this...

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Essential CIS Politics: December 2018
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 24 Dec 2018
RUSSIARussia vows to restrict NATO warships in Arctic OceanOn November 30 Russia promised to limit the movement of warships from NATO countries in the Arctic Ocean. This ocean to the north of Russia is of strategic importance. Goods and exported from Russia and imported to Russia via this route. ...

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US pulling out of Syria strengthens Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 24 Dec 2018
Trump announced that the US is withdrawing from Syria. This is largely welcome news in Russia since the Americans sometimes bombed Russia's Syrian allies. On the other hand the US help against ISIS was sometimes useful and Russia now has considerable responsibility, with Iran the other major back...

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The European Commission is finally paying its dues, creating abundant liquidity for the government
HUNGARY - In Brief 23 Dec 2018
Although neither the government, nor the European Commission are specifically saying so, the publicly available cohesion policy data of the latter make it clear that the EU Commission has just paid very substantial amounts of transfers due to Hungary. Our own estimates show the payments, in Decem...

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Putin's annual press conference has only tepid good news
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 22 Dec 2018
President Putin held his annual marathon press conference. There was little good news to report. Wages have increased 0.4% YoY - that was the best statistic to report. The president said ''Russia needs a breakthrough'' but did not suggest how this would happen. President Poroshenko of Ukraine was...

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Inflation is receding but political uncertainty keeps the risk premium high
ARGENTINA - Report 21 Dec 2018
Monthly inflation went down in November and will probably recede even more in December. This is the consequence of the stability of the exchange rate that was achieved since the beginning of October when the Central Bank announced its constant monetary base target for the period October 2018 to J...

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Not as bad as you may think
RUSSIA ECONOMICS - Forecast 21 Dec 2018
Executive Summary 2018 was moderately successful for the Russian economy. Despite a new round of the US sanctions in April 2018 and lower oil prices in 4Q18, GDP is set to grow 1.6% in 2018. The current strategy of the Government outlined by the presidential May decrees is to increase taxation wh...

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The Colombian quilting bee
COLOMBIA - Report 21 Dec 2018
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a quilting bee is “a social gathering of women at which they work together at making quilts or doing other quilted work”. If the word “women” is replaced by “members of Congress”, we get a pretty good description of what happened with the tax reform (a...

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How different will be 2019 from 2018?
ECUADOR - Report 21 Dec 2018
Executive SummaryEcuador will close year 2018 with dismal y-o-y GDP growth of 1%, and the perspectives for 2019 are not more encouraging. The economic transition from the "Socialism of the 21st Century" to a more sustainable model will take place later rather than sooner due to an excessively cau...

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Year end note
PHILIPPINES - Report 21 Dec 2018
Inflation surprises may have topped headlines in 2018 but as cost pressures subside, we leave readers with what we think is the more enduring economic story going forward, summarized in this chart: CHART 1 The chart shows: Widening current account deficit, which is expected to exceed 2% of GDP st...

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December’s economic work conference
CHINA FINANCIAL - Report 21 Dec 2018
Special points to highlight in this issue: The annual Economic Work Conference ended today, and Beijing has released the official statement summarizing the event. It said most of the things we expected it to say. In 2019 Beijing will continue to try to walk the impossibly fine line between stimul...

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US Treasury prepares to end RUSAL sanctions
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 20 Dec 2018 1 response
On December 19 the US Treasury indicated that it intends to end sanctions against En+ Group, RUSAL , JSC Rus Sib Energo (ESE) in the next 30 days. These companies have agreed to restructure under conditions that severely curb the main controller shareholder Oleg Deripaska. This should deal with t...

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​New dynamics in Syria and Turko-American relationship
TURKEY - In Brief 20 Dec 2018 1 response
The agenda is moving at a speed faster than light for me to write the Big Picture piece I’ve been yearning for. Anyway, there is no Big Picture left anymore, Trump has smashed everything into bits and pieces. His sudden and unannounced decision to pull US troops out of Syria, while still subject ...