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The MNB is still in a tightening mode
HUNGARY · In Brief · 05 Mar 2020

Just like a week earlier, the MNB left the outstanding stock of FX swaps unchanged at this Monday's tender, accepting exactly the same amount of bids as the weekly amount of maturing swaps. Yet the forint has strengthened to EURHUF 335-337 in recent days, following a few days spent around 340 in ...

New PM in Ukraine
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS · In Brief · 05 Mar 2020

On March 4 President Zelensky dismissed Prime Minister Honcharuk. Zelensky appointed Denys Shmygal as prime minister. The Rada (parliament) confirmed the appointment. Shmygal, 45, has no political party. He is a businessman who once worked for the Ministry of Revenues. More effective tax collecti...

Cabinet reloaded: changes on critical points expected
UKRAINE · In Brief · 05 Mar 2020

The Honcharuk Cabinet was dismissed yesterday on March 4. What was the real reason behind this dismissal – we can only guess. Honcharuk was weak Premier, apparently, not ready to face the challenges he was expected to deal with. But his dismissal has some other reasons, we believe. Most likely sl...

Russian billionaire fighting US tax case
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS · In Brief · 05 Mar 2020

On March 2 Oleg Tinkov was granted bail in London where he is fighting extradition to the United States. Tinkov is a banker who previously held US citizenship. He has since renounced his US citizenship. The IRS accused him of underreporting his income. His wealth is estimated to be USD 2.2 billio...

Russia responds to coronavirus
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS · In Brief · 05 Mar 2020

Russia has banned the export of face masks and haz mat suits in response to coronavirus on March 4. The government is discouraging business trips. In Moscow metro passengers are subject to random temperature checks. The Chinese Embassy has complained that Chinese people are being singled out for ...

Voting preference for Abinader above 50%
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC · Report · 04 Mar 2020

This week, two highly credible polling firms, with excellent records in predicting electoral results, have published the results of their recent polls on voter preference. The results of the surveys conducted last week, just days after the suspension of municipal elections, confirm two things. ...

Confoundingly complacent
TURKEY · Report · 04 Mar 2020 · 1 response

We take a quick look at economic developments in our by-now familiar Q&A format. Growth forecasts for this year and beyond, which appear appallingly unfazed by wars, viruses and reserve losses, continue to look highly complacent to us. Never mind the strong headlines, underlying growth dynamic...

South Africa’s economy enters into another technical recession for the second time in two consecutive years
SOUTH AFRICA · Report · 03 Mar 2020

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, real GDP growth contracted by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019. The decline of GDP by 0.8% (downwardly adjusted from -0.6%) during the third quarter of 2019 suggests that the South African economy was in a technical recession in H2 2019. As such, since the great r...

Sale of Sberbank will probably be delayed by Bank of Russia
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS · In Brief · 03 Mar 2020

On March 2 the Bank of Russia (CBR) suggested that selling Sberbank should be postponed from June 1 to December 1. The 6 month delay is due to coronavirus. CBR plans to sell the 50% stake that it owns in Sberbank. Sberbank's shares have plummeted 10% since February 11.

Electoral crisis strengthens the opposition
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC · Report · 03 Mar 2020

It’s crystal clear that the electoral crisis triggered by the suspension of the February 2020 municipal elections is a resounding stab to the ruling PLD’s efforts to retain power. The PLD and the government are the big losers in this event, especially because many people blame the party for what ...

Netanyahu "wins" the elections, but coalition formation will be difficult
ISRAEL · Report · 03 Mar 2020

The polls point to a right-wing victory, but coalition formation will still be very difficult. Recent economic indicators point to steady growth and PC demand in early 2020. The Bank of Israel has indicated a high hurdle level for a rate cut, and expects the coronavirus to have a minimum impact o...

Inflation rises further in February
TURKEY · Report · 03 Mar 2020

Consumer prices rose by a lower than expected 0.35%, m/m, in February (consensus: 0.7%), but the 12-month rate nevertheless increased slightly further to 12.4% from 12.2% in January. Domestic-PPI rose by 0.5%, m/m, in February, taking the 12-month rate to 9.3%, from 8.8% in the previous month.

Downgrading GDP growth (COVID-19 impact)
PHILIPPINES · In Brief · 03 Mar 2020

Since our quarterly outlook issued a little over two weeks ago, the Philippines has not reported new cases of the COVID-19 disease beyond the three cases detected at the time of our report (with one death). In the meantime, travel ban for inbound travelers from certain regions of South Korea has ...

Netanyahu "wins" the elections, but coalition formation will be difficult
ISRAEL · In Brief · 03 Mar 2020

Politics: According to surveys of the three main TV stations (conducted at the voting areas), the right-wing block received 59 seats to 55 for the left/center/Arab parties. Lieberman received 6 seats. The Likud party received 37 seats to 33 for Blue and White. After 62% of all votes have been cou...

The economy continued to slow down in 2019
PANAMA · In Brief · 02 Mar 2020

GDP grew 3.0% during 2019, according to official figures released today. This number coincides with our projection made in mid-year. The fourth quarter increased by 3.3%, the better performance of the year (3.1% in the first quarter; 2.9% in the second quarter; and 2.7% in the third quarter). As ...