• Brazil – conflicting reports;
  • Colombia – Santos will run for re-election;
  • Mexico – better results than expected;
  • Nigeria – a good third quarter;
  • Sao Tome & Principe – inviting Taiwan as well as China.

ARGENTINA:  The promotion of Kicillof to Economy Minister has raised the odds that the regime may soon introduce a second official exchange rate for the peso based on the type of transaction. Now back in the Casa Rosada, Pres. Fernandez has reshuffled her Cabinet and signaled that she has no plans to moderate her statist policies.

CHILE:  Given the results of the first round of voting, Michelle Bachelet should have no trouble winning the presidential run-off elections. While she has ambitious, Left-leaning plans, however, her ability to push through serious reforms will be limited by the country’s institutional structure.

CHINA:  The country’s highly-anticipated new economic policy plan, which boosted financial markets on the mainland and in Hong Kong, ascribes a “decisive role” to market forces and will chip away at the privileges of state-owned enterprises. The drive to internationalize the yuan will be continued, and the powers of President Xi have been expanded.

GERMANY:  The country is under attack for running a large current-account BoP surplus, but curtailing its competitiveness would do nothing to help the weaker members of the Eurozone. Talks on forming a governing alliance are deadlocked right now, but this does not mean that the prospects for a Grand Coalition are gone.

MADAGASCAR:  It now has to be seen whether the election victor, Jean-Louis Robinson, will keep the promises made during the campaign. The economy urgently needs foreign aid restored and investment flowing in. The country has plenty of resources, but for too long the political situation has prevented their exploitation.

RUSSIA:  A sharp slow-down in economic growth is turning out to be the biggest challenge for the President as it undermines the basic bargain on which Putinism is based. While nationalism is becoming more intense at home, the Kremlin is pushing hard toward a “Eurasian Union,” but so far with less than impressive success.

SOUTH AFRICA:  The weakness of the rand has not done much to improve the country’s external balances, but statistical revisions have made a big difference. The outlook is for persistently large red-ink spills, as the upcoming elections will keep politicians from attempting needed structural reforms.

VENEZUELA: Pres. Maduro has obtained from parliament the decree powers he has been seeking. Another maxi-devaluation of the bolivar can surely be avoided until after next month’s elections, but will become inevitable eventually. Both inflation and shortages of essential goods will get worse at an accelerating pace.

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.