- Cuba – planned unification of the FX market;
- Mexico – a fierce debate over tax reform;
- Peru – a Cabinet revamp to please investors;
- Taiwan – an economy near stall-speed;
- Turkmenistan – vigorous growth and strong external accounts.
ARGENTINA: The beating her faction got in the mid-term elections makes it all but certain that Mrs. Fernandez will not run for presidential re-election. But this does not answer the question of whether there will be a deal to end the standoff with the holdovers among owners of defaulted bonds. This has become a possibility, albeit a remote one.
CHILE: As the elections draw closer it is quite clear that former President Bachelet will win, quite possibly with a margin large enough to avoid a run-off. This is not tantamount to saying that governing will be easy for her and much of her huge investment plans may have to be left behind in the dust. A particular challenge will be the urgent need to step up electricity production.
CHINA: The economy gained momentum in the third quarter, to stay on track for the officially expected 2013 result. The authorities have been fighting to keep a lid on the yuan, which has been under upward pressure even as other emerging market currencies were hit hard by FX market turbulence.
CZECH REPUBLIC: The real winner of the elections was the man leading the party that came in second, since he is now kingmaker in a process of coalition building that may be lengthy. Whatever the stripes of the new government, it will shift policy away.
ISRAEL: While economic growth has accelerated, the expansion of exports has taken a hit. Palestinian growth has slowed and Hamas faces a financial crisis in Gaza. Peace negotiations will not change the dynamics in the Middle East, which remain alarming.
MALAWI: President Banda has reshuffled her Cabinet and appointed a new Finance Minister to overcome a scandal dubbed “cash gate.” This is not likely to lead to a change in economic policy, which largely follows IMF prescriptions. Growth slowed sharply last year, but is now regaining momentum.
TUNISIA: The ruling Ennahda and the opposition have, at long last, begun serious talks on forming a caretaker government and paving the way for a rewritten constitution and elections to end months of unrest. While the agreement lays down a road map, it does not guarantee smooth progress. This remains a big question for the economy.
UNITED STATES: The economy will continue to grow, but at a pace far too slow to deal with the unemployment problem. While the Fed will stick to its super-easy monetary policy and the public debt will keep piling up, the biggest problem for business will continue to be a climate of great uncertainty, generated by Washington.