- Mongolia – an ambitious economic stimulus plan;
- Thailand – fresh elections scheduled;
- Ukraine – big IMF bailout;
- Venezuela – still no FX for airlines.
CROATIA: The economy remains in precarious shape and may be one of only two in the EU to suffer another contraction this year. Pres. Josipovic is correct in his contention that the country’s political leaders need to work together to end the long recession and avoid serious social unrest, but there is currently little chance of this happening.
EGYPT: Virtually certain to win election as President this month, al-Sisi will find it difficult to keep simmering popular antagonisms under control and even more so to cope with the country’s staggering economic problems. The latest weakening of the pound is pointing to some of the difficulties. All this makes the US position vis-a-vis Egypt a problematic one.
GREECE: The country passed a milestone in its recovery with the successful sale of five-year sovereign notes at an acceptable yield. Its creditors are about to begin a discussion on how to provide additional debt relief. This should not blind one to the enormous sacrifices Greece had to make, however, and the ones that still lie ahead.
INDIA: As the elections progress it is increasingly clear that the BJP and its leader, Narendra Modi, will win, probably fairly big, but also that their ascent to the helm will not be without problems. The business community, which right now is hailing the party’s chances, will need more than a bit of reassuring once the contest is over.
KAZAKHSTAN: The economy is gradually rebounding and it will now be up to a new government to take the country into the Eurasian Economic Union. While this is not being discussed aloud in Astana, there is concern about the Kremlin’s handling of the Ukraine crisis and what this could mean for Central Asian lands
RUSSIA: The effects of the sanctions are more biting than one might assume at first blush, but the latest round still leaves the embargoes far short of what would convince the Kremlin that the costs of its expansionism are too high. Within Russia, Pres. Putin’s popularity has risen dramatically.
SOUTH AFRICA: With elections approaching, criticism of the ruling ANC runs high. Even so, the ANC and President Zuma are likely to win re-election with relative ease. They may even hold on to their two-thirds majority. But the economy will not soon regain a BRICS rate of growth and joblessness will stay painfully high.
SWEDEN: The SKK has lost its buoyancy and expectations of further interest rate cuts will continue to create downside risks. The economy will stay relatively sluggish, but not nearly as troubled as some critics make it out to be. When someone like Paul Krugman tears into the Riksbank’s policies, it must be doing something right.