• Congo (Democratic Republic) – a tax hike on exports of copper and cobalt concentrates;
  • Ghana – dire days for the cedi;
  • Turkey – bereft of choices, an interest rate hike by the CB.

ALGERIA:  Although President Bouteflika has returned home after 80 days in a Paris hospital, questions remain about his health and the country’s political future ahead of 2014 elections. For now, though, there are no indications that the country will fall into turmoil, regardless of how these questions wind up being answered.

AUSTRALIA:  Prime Minister Rudd has unveiled a rather uninspiring Cabinet team and has made only some minor moves to change his predecessor’s policies. Under him, Labor’s standing with the voters has improved substantially, however, just ahead of general elections. The swing has been helped by the FX market fall of the AUD.

CHILE: The plunge in copper prices is hurting the BoP and the outlook is not bright, but there are a number of reasons why Chile will be able to cope. In the presidential race, the conservatives have now also selected a woman as their candidate, but former Pres. Bachelet is still expected to win by a landslide.

CHINA:  Noteworthy these days is not so much that economic growth continues to slow, something that has been widely anticipated, but that the authorities in Beijing are reacting calmly and with only minor efforts to change the trend.  They are likely to persist in this approach, sticking to small but well-targeted stimulus measures meant to stabilize the economy, not to pump it up.

NIGERIA:  There is talk that the naira may be devalued, but if so the CB will not act under great pressures. Official FX reserves are ample for continued support and the war of words between a powerful state governor and the President is not unusual in a politically active environment.

SAUDI ARABIA:  Efforts to diversify the economy continue to make progress, but probably not at a pace that satisfies the policy makers. Still, expectations that Riyadh will boost oil output capacity substantially have faded. Some of the latest regional developments have been welcomed in the Kingdom, but in the Eastern Province shootings have ended months of calm.

SERBIA: The economy is recovering from recession this year and should be helped by the fact that Serbia has managed to edge closer to the European Union. There are still multiple challenges ahead, however, and funding the current-account BoP deficit remains a concern.

SYRIA: Even as the regime has made some gains against the rebels on the battlefield it is losing the war on a different front, the economy. It still hopes it can overcome this problem by raising wages, tightening price controls and cracking down on black-market currency traders, but these are just palliatives that at best can buy time.

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