• Country Risk1 300Botswana – lower interest rates;
  • Czech Republic – speculation that the FX cap may come off;
  • Indonesia – reverse course for interest rates;
  • Mexico – keeping an eye peeled on US trends.

ARGENTINA:  The President’s final months in office are promising to be even more turbulent than her administration has been to date, overshadowed by debt and economic problems and the fallout from the investigation into her alleged attempt to protect terrorists. She will cope in her usual combative style, but leave a mess for her successor.

AUSTRIA: The country has lost its triple-A badge from a second rating company as concerns are starting to grow about threats to the economy. Trends are still manageable, but the external situation has deteriorated and there are worries about the banking sector. In the socio-political arena, the danger posed by ISIS is starting to be taken more seriously.

BRAZIL:  President Rousseff’s popularity has been taking a dramatic dive since her recent re-election, due to poor economic results, broken promises on taxes and prices, and – above all – the corruption scandal at Petrobras that is drawing ever wider circles. At this point, she is not in any real danger of impeachment, but neither should her remaining safe be taken for granted.

NIGERIA:  While the naira has stabilized since the CB introduced a new trading system, the balmier climate is unlikely to last. The impending elections force voters to opt for the lesser of two evils. Whoever wins will have to tighten the nation’s belt to adjust to the collapse of world oil prices.

SLOVENIA: The country has made a remarkable comeback from the blows it received in the global financial crisis, and the judgment of the international bond rating agencies reflects that. While there is still much work to be done, the new government under Prime Minister Miro Cerar seems prepared to get on with it.

UKRAINE:  The hryvnia has likely been overshooting on the downside since the Central Bank freed it of its tethers and allowed it to perform what comes pretty close to a free float. The odds are that it will eventually regain at least some of the ground lost, now that a big international bailout package is coming together.

UNITED STATES: The economy is at long last on a fairly robust upward trajectory, with most current statistics confirming that it has reached takeoff speed. It is battling headwinds that raise questions about the outlook, however. This is likely to give the Federal Reserve pause as it contemplates starting to hike interest rates.

ZAMBIA:  Last month’s elections were won by a man vowing to continue the late Michael Sata’s divisive and miscued policies. The economy may be the worse for it, troubled, as it already is, by low world copper prices and a highly vulnerable kwacha.

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