• Croatia: – the credit rating is now “junk status” across the board;
  • Singapore – more restrictions on imported employees;
  • Sri Lanka – a noteworthy election;
  • Turkey – a top-level acknowledgement that the EU bid may fail.

BRAZIL: Inflation has slowed and the real has stabilized in the FX markets thanks to policy decisions by Banco Central and the Fed. Still, the government needs to change its approach to private investors if it hopes to turn its infrastructure plans into a success.

CYPRUS: The President says that the country will lift all capital restrictions in January, but for now this is still a questionable pledge. Ironically, while one of the aims of the troika’s financial rescue strategy was to banish potentially “dirty” Russian money from the battered banks, in practice the opposite has occurred.

FRANCE: Acknowledging that there is growing popular and business resistance to ever-rising taxes and that the heavy burden is weighing on an incipient recovery, the government scaled back hikes planned for 2014. Business still has reason to be angered by a new levy on profitable companies, though, and a number of tax increases, while provisioned, have yet to kick in.

GERMANY: Chancellor Merkel won a big personal victory in the elections, and yet, the result will make for difficult and possibly lengthy negotiations to forge a new governing coalition. The German economy perked up in the second quarter, but not in a way that would offer the rest of Europe coat tails to ride on.

IRELAND: The signs are growing that the country has turned a corner. While the extent to which the authorities will be able to ease the fiscal restraints next year is limited, Ireland is on track to become the first Eurozone member to successfully exit an international bailout program.

KAZAKHSTAN: After long delays the pivotal Kashagan oil field has started producing, although output at this point is only a trickle. Liftings are planned to increase to 1.5 million bpd, but this will take time. In the interim, the economy is likely to keep making notable progress, helped by official diversification efforts.

MEXICO: The government has been able to pass education reform and is in good shape for succeeding with a tax revamp, compromising to broaden the political support. The task will be more difficult with the energy reform it is now trying to get legislated, but what may have been impossible a few years ago now appears at least doable.

UNITED KINGDOM: The economy has been gaining strength, enough for Chancellor Osborne to say it is “turning a corner.” The positive outlook is being derided by the opposition Labour party, but it is at least conceivable that more worrisome for the Tories in the next general election will be the Independence Party with its anti-EU message.

This page is provided by S.J. Rundt & Associates, Inc., specialists in country risk assessment, consultants to multinational companies & banks, and publishers of Rundt’s World Business Intelligence and The Financial Executive’s Country Risk Alert. To order a subscription or individual issues of these reports, in print or by e-mail, contact S.J. Rundt & Associates, P.O. Box 1572, Montclair, NJ 07042; Telephone: (973) 731-7502, Fax: (973) 731-7503;  E-mail: info@rundtsintelligence.com;  Web site: www.rundtsintelligence.com.