• Argentina – between a rock and a hard place;
  • Colombia – signs pointing to further interest rate hikes;
  • Venezuela – FX exchange rules for tourists

CANADA:  The economy’s performance is not bad, although the news continues to be rather mixed. The two main weaknesses are a somewhat risky housing market and Canada’s dependence on the US as a market for its goods & services. Pipeline projects seeking to diversify customers for oil exports are being pushed with vigor.

FRANCE:  The Cabinet has approved new spending cuts to meet this year’s fiscal deficit target. It may still undershoot its goal as economic growth assumptions may be too optimistic. Also, what France urgently needs are structural reforms, since the labor force lags in the region in terms of competitiveness .

GERMANY:  Berlin has joined Paris in nudging the Eurozone toward an easing of its fiscal requirements, but the ECB’s latest package of stimulatory measures is being broadly condemned in the Federal Republic. The economy still powers ahead as those of neighbors struggle, yet the government sees no leeway for tax cuts.

ISRAEL:  The leadership is troubled by the acceptance in the West of the Palestinian unity government, but the response, stepped-up settlements on the West Bank, is not likely to benefit Israel. On the economic front, the government has a new funding scheme for start-up tech firms and contracts are being worked on to turn Egypt and Jordan in-to long-term customers for natural gas.

JAPAN: There has been a positive reaction to the latest details of the “third arrow” of PM Abe’s three-pronged effort to inject more dash into the economy. Almost everything will depend on the implementation, however, which still leaves many questions open. And Abenomics is not shaking the addiction of companies to cash.

JORDAN: The Kingdom is undoubtedly in the cross-hairs of ISIS, but the jihadist group would probably find Jordan a tough nut to crack. It may want to bide its time at least until it has consolidated its newly gained position in Iraq. Economically Jordan is grappling with strong headwinds, but it is, for now, in a position to hold its own.

POLAND:  Prime Minister Tusk won a parliamentary vote of confidence, which should allow the political storm to die down that arose over a sinister bug-ging affair leading to one of the worst scandals of the reborn Polish state. At that, he and the pol-iticians most directly affected have much fence-mending to do, and the matter is far from over.

TURKEY:  Under Erdogan, the presidency will become decidedly more powerful and the nation will be-come more polarized. Interesting will be its relationship with the Kurds, who will likely push hard to join their brethren in Iraq in the formation of an independent state.

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