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Country Insights

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$2.9 billion from Gazprom reach Naftogaz account
UKRAINE - In Brief 27 Dec 2019
Gazprom has paid $2.9 billion on the Stockholm arbitration, according to Naftogaz Facebook page. The funds might be reflected as part of gross international reserves which now should touch $26 billion level or 4.1 months of imports. According to the IMF guides “external assets that are readily av...

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​Gulf weekly: Khashoggi trial concludes, Divided Zone oil restart is agreed
GULF COUNTRIES - Report 27 Dec 2019
The weekly is a skimmable summary of key developments by country, overlaid with our analysis and links to further information. As of today, we are shifting to a Friday publication schedule in an effort to provide swifter coverage than our previous Sunday schedule. Headlines include: * The tria...

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Russia rows with Poland and EU
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 27 Dec 2019
In December 2019 the European Parliament passed a resolution denouncing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This agreement led to the USSR annexing Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova and some of Poland. Over the past week President Putin hit out at Poland in several public remarks. Putin is irate becau...

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Russia takes over former US base in Syria
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 26 Dec 2019
On December 26 a Russian news agency reported that Russian troops had assumed control of a base in Syria that was held by the United States till last week. This is delicious news for the Kremlin. The hasty US withdrawal from Syria is welcomed by Russia in some ways. On the other hand it means Rus...

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Russia claims it successfully trialed sovereign internet
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 24 Dec 2019
On December 24 the Ministry of Communications said that Russia trialed its unplugged internet several hours. It claimed that it was so successful that people did not even notice. Experts are sceptical about the trial. Did it really happen at a full scale? People surely would have noticed some sit...

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Stick and carrot
ECUADOR - Report 24 Dec 2019
After the unsettling riots of last October, the Assembly has given stick and carrot to the government. First, a majority of over 70 votes denied the proposed economic bill sent by the Ministry of Finance as urgent at the beginning of November. Albeit there were political motives behind this den...

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Wins in Paris, and gas transit – but weirdness marks IMF talks
UKRAINE - Report 24 Dec 2019
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy surprised everyone with his stronger-than-expected performance at the Normandy summit in Paris December 9th. On the eve of the meeting, social tension in Ukraine had been mounting, with hardly anyone daring to predict how negotiations might go. Street protesters dema...

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Uzbek election marred by irregularities
RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 24 Dec 2019
On December 22 Uzbekistan held a legislative election. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe noted that there serious doubts about the fairness of the poll and that certain issues were off topic in debates. Nonetheless this election has not been as unfair as the previous ones. ...

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Economics: Ending 2019 on a low note
MEXICO - Report 23 Dec 2019
The economic indicators and news from the final weeks of 2019 added to the general impression of a softening economy, with especially troubling declines in both consumer spending and private investment, even as the retreat in industrial production deepened. Gross fixed investment accelerated its ...

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The Cabinet decided today to withdraw a controversial proposal for Constitutional reform and called for a “national debate” sponsored by the UNDP (United Nations).
PANAMA - In Brief 23 Dec 2019
The reform was a leading campaign issue by all the parties in the recent presidential contest. Cortizo and the PRD party opted for following a long process of modifications established in the Constitution: two approvals by the Legislative Assembly plus a national referendum. The draft of the init...

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Politics: Potential democratic institutional demise
MEXICO - Report 23 Dec 2019
The latest GEA-ISA quarterly survey coincides with all the other polling data published in the past month on the seemingly contradictory phenomenon of President López Obrador's continuing to enjoy strong yet somewhat weaker approval numbers at the same time as the government he presides over gets...

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SAUDI: Khashoggi verdict won't mitigate criticisms that are discouraging FDI
GULF COUNTRIES - In Brief 23 Dec 2019
Sentences were issued today by the Saudi court trying those accused by the public prosecutor of involvement in the October 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A brief statement from the public prosecutor said that, of the 11 Saudi nationals put on trial, 5 were sentenced to death fo...

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Inflation likely to surprise on the upside in 2020
ISRAEL - Report 23 Dec 2019
Recent indicators (IP, revenues) point to steady growth in early Q4 2019, unsupportive of lower rates. Residential starts/completions remain fairly strong, supportive of a modest increase in housing/rental prices. We expect inflation to reach 1.2% in the NTM, above market expectations.

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If everything is so good, then why does everything seem so bad?
RUSSIA ENERGY / FINANCE - Forecast 23 Dec 2019
2019 was one of the best years for the Russian economy in five years. International reserves rose by $65 billion. The federal budget will turn in a robust surplus, of around 2% GDP. The RUB has appreciated 10% ytd, and the local stock market is at record highs. The CBR cut 150 bps over the year, ...

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2020 growth target likely to be about 6%
CHINA - Report 23 Dec 2019
The annual Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) held by top leaders December 10th-12th emphasized “stabilities.” We believe that “around 6%” is the likeliest 2020 growth target. Infrastructure investment was mentioned, suggesting that infrastructure spending will be used to support the economy...