• Algeria – persistent threats from jihadists;
  • Argentina – another attempt to circumvent US courts;
  • Indonesia – higher interest rates;
  • Taiwan – from scandal to scandal.

EGYPT Page 3 … While the US and Europe are still contemplating whether to withdraw their financial aid to the interim government, the Cabinet has approved an economic stimulus plan that will be paid for by Gulf Arab donors. As the ousted Brotherhood increasingly turns toward terrorist violence, companies batten the hatches.

JAPAN: Japan is hoping the 2020 Olympics will crown its emergence from a long period of economic stagnation. It has good reason for this as the economy is doing better than expected and appears strong enough to cope with the planned increases in the national sales tax. The Bank of Japan has made a particularly strong plea for the government not to abandon its tax plans.

KENYA:  The country is getting ready to launch Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest debut sovereign bond issue, even though ICC trials make the timing awkward. Kenya needs the money as its fiscal accounts slide deeper into the red. On the plus side, it is about to become East Africa’s first oil exporter, and the discovery of huge aquifers holds much promise.

NIGERIA:  Massive theft and sabotage have drastically cut crude oil output. The pending Petroleum Industry Bill threatens to do more damage and so does socio-political uncertainty ahead of 2015 elections. An opposition alliance has formed that may pose a serious threat to the ruling PDP.

NORWAY:  While the conservatives will clearly be the leaders in the coalition that will underpin the next government, there are uncomfortable questions about the concessions they will have to make to the anti-immigrant Progress Party, the likely kingmaker.

SPAIN:  Encouraged by signs that the recession is easing, the authorities were quick to declare their austerity program a success. Even under the best conditions it will take a while for a real dent to be made in sky-high unemployment, however, and many companies, especially small ones, will still bite the dust along the way.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: While Dubai has been accelerating asset sales to deal with an approaching debt service bulge, Abu Dhabi has been working hard to diversify its economy, inter alia with a financial free zone, and tiny Fujairah is becoming a critical strategic oil and logistics hub.

VENEZUELA: The government may re-institute a third exchange market and FX rate to make more dollars available to importers. It is doubtful that this would do away with dollar fraud, though. The local property market is booming due to trapped profits. And while Pres. Maduro is vowing a new crackdown on graft, only members of the opposition appear to be targeted.

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