Country Insights

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South African Budget 2015: Two Cheers for the Minister’s Maiden Speech
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 26 Feb 2015
Minister Nhlahla Nene presented his maiden Budget Speech yesterday in the midst of much “expected surprise”. His government faced a complex blend of domestic and international challenges. Personally, also, he had to take a stand, come out of the shadows of the previous two Finance Ministers under...

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Steady Policy
PHILIPPINES - In Brief 26 Feb 2015
As the US Fed struggles with the language of its forward guidance, keeping markets on their toes, the BSP Governor has stated that any interest rate hike on its part need not be "in sync with the Fed" on both timing and size of adjustment. This jibes with our baseline read that local policy rates...

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Heads up: Rumors of Babacan’s resignation
TURKEY - In Brief 25 Feb 2015
CBRT’s 50 basis point cut of the O/N lending rate didn’t please the AKP government. The chorus of objecting voices which began with Premier Davutoglu was soon joined by President Erdogan who accused CBRT to be in collusion with “foreign powers” to hold Turkey back. Afterwards Economy czar Babacan...

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Off the Cliff
UKRAINE - Report 25 Feb 2015
Executive Summary Ukraine’s situation has deteriorated. Despite widely expected budget cuts, which should have secured a stable hryvnia, the authorities have envisaged an overoptimistic spending plan for 2015, which presumes heavy hryvnia printing. To make matters worse, it sounds as though the I...

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It's all politics, at this stage...
TURKEY - In Brief 24 Feb 2015
Since my name was mentioned in Cosmic's latest post, I might as well do a follow up, though I have little to add to his succinct analysis, especially the two main observations He makes -- that: 1) rate cuts should not have much effect on domestic demand against a backdrop of heightened policy vol...

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Medina Winning Wide Support
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Report 24 Feb 2015
Executive Summary Some 70% of adults surveyed support the idea of a constitutional amendment to allow President Danilo Medina to run for re-election, the country’s most respected polling organization reports. The pollster, Gallup-Hoy, also said that 64% of those surveyed believed that Medina shou...

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Politics: Crime Data Look Good but Don’t Add Up
MEXICO - Report 24 Feb 2015
Executive Summary The trend of recent years toward a reduction in the rate of intentional homicide in Mexico extended through 2014, according to the report the National Public Security System (SNSP) released last week. However, the information should be regarded as preliminary because Mexico’s Na...

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Economics: GDP: 2014 and Beyond
MEXICO - Report 24 Feb 2015
Executive Summary Mexico’s National Statistics Office (Inegi) reported that Gross Domestic Product increased 2.6% in the last quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter a year earlier and 0.7% compared to the third quarter of 2014. For full-year 2014 GDP grew 2.1%; these are the same results th...

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GDP’s Q4 2014 Outcome Fails to Lift Annual Growth
SOUTH AFRICA - Report 24 Feb 2015
Statistics South Africa today reported that the inflation adjusted (real) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased notably at a quarterly, seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.1% in the last quarter of 2014. The outcome added two percentage points to the preceding quarter’s rate (see Graph 1). ...

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Costa Rica: More Robust, Yet More Vulnerable
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 24 Feb 2015
Executive Summary Economic performance is expected to improve slightly in 2015, compared to previous expectations, and, in some respects, compared to 2014. Despite mixed fiscal signals from the government, we don’t expect turbulent storms this year. External conditions are the main reason: strong...

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Cosmic Strategist reviews CBRT decision
TURKEY - In Brief 24 Feb 2015 1 response
CBRT fooled the markets once again by cutting the O/N lending by 50 basis point and the weekly repo and the O/N borrowing rates by 25 basis points each. The market had anticipated a minor or no cut in the O/N lending rate and 25-50 basis point cuts in the other two. In the accompanying statement ...

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The Moment of Truth
COLOMBIA - Forecast 23 Feb 2015
Executive Summary This is likely to be a transition year for Colombia: the economy’s vulnerabilities will become apparent toward yearend, as reduced oil income subtracts from government revenues. Four crucial elements will determine the country’s path to recovery: first, oil and commodity price t...

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Week of February 23
BRAZIL POLITICS - Report 23 Feb 2015
A busy week in Brasília: Expectations are rising surrounding the request to make public the investigation by the Prosecutor General of the Republic against authorities involved in the Lava Jato operation. The Petrobras CPI should be installed in the House. Congress could vote on the 2015 Budget. ...

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Weekly Tracker: February 22-28
TURKEY - Report 22 Feb 2015
Executive Summary ISIS terror may be the new threat to political stability. Turkish military entered Syria on Saturday to evacuate the tiny military contingent defending the Shah Suleiman shrine and to bring home the remains of the titular founder of the Ottoman Empire, suggesting disagreements w...

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Green Shoots Multiplying
CHILE - Report 20 Feb 2015
Executive Summary There are several signals now that the economy is on a recovery path. But we must be cautious. A month ago there was a single variable that gave us some hope: imports of capital goods. In December we were hopeful because this variable expanded significantly. But January’s fig...