- Cuba – two steps forward, one step back;
- Denmark – parting ways with the ECB; Kazakhstan – Cabinet reshuffle;
- Korea (North) – two-tiered exchange rate?
- Nicaragua – Ortega forever?
- Serbia – still-lower interest rates.
ANGOLA: The government is stepping up its investment in infrastructure in an effort to help diversify the economy and attract more venture capital from abroad. It is also preparing to make the kwanza a traded currency. Trying to wring more money out of foreign oil companies the authorities are imposing a “consumption tax” on these firms.
BRAZIL: For the authorities to applaud an oil auction with just one bidder as a success underscores the government’s uncertainty about what it wants to achieve. The problem is evident in most other major policy decisions as well. It helps to shorten the odds for a debt rating downgrade in the not too distant future.
GEORGIA: The incoming Prime Minister will take office under a new system of government that brings the Saakashvili era to a formal end. What to expect from him is still difficult to pin down, but much will depend on his treatment of the departing President, whose legacy contains huge accomplishments along with a number of serious mistakes.
GHANA: Fitch has lowered the country’s credit rating. While there are reasons for concern, Ghana still has a good chance of success. The long-simmering election dispute has been resolved. Tensions between Accra and Beijing, however, are rising.
LUXEMBOURG: With the replacement of Jean-Claude Juncker as PM, an era has ended in the Grand Duchy. He may still play an important role on the European scene, but it is at home that his departure will be most keenly felt. Behind the scenes, this tiny country’s bank secrecy is fading away.
MEXICO: Congress has passed the tax reform package, but only after watering it down to where the effect will be modest, at best. Nonetheless, plans to open up the long-closed oil industry to private investment have a good chance of making it through the mill with a more ambitious makeup than originally planned.
SINGAPORE: The economy did better than expected in the third quarter, leading the MAS to stick to a policy of modest and gradual appreciation of the local dollar. The City has overtaken Japan as Asia’s top FX hub. A new deal with China to take part in the latter’s RFQII program will further strengthen Singapore’s position.
THAILAND: The Senate is set to reject an amnesty bill that has raised the ire of many. The unrest has put some downward pressure on the baht, allowing the CB to keep interest rates steady. The Finance Ministry, meanwhile, is defending a fiscally very expensive subsidy for rice. Not surprisingly, rubber growers want similar treatment.