- Denmark – a concession to commercial banks;
- Georgia – renewed proof of Russia’s expansionism;
- Norway – toward lower interest rates;
- Sweden – the Riksbank doubles down on its monetary easing.
BRAZIL: The real is taking a beating in the midst of a near-perfect storm of troubles. For now, the Central Bank has stopped supporting it, but there is anyway little more it could do to put a floor under the FX rate. The difficulties are pushing Pres. Rousseff’s governing coalition to the brink.
CHINA: With economic growth still slowing, the government is declaring itself prepared to take more steps to spur activity if need be. At the same time, it is seeking to address the repayment concerns creditors are having over USD 3 trillion in local and regional government debt, in a way that admittedly leaves a number of important questions open.
IRELAND: The economy has gathered momentum and is now well out of the crisis that had forced the authorities to accept a Eurozone and IMF bailout. The government is trying to reverse the net emigration of young people for the first time in seven years and has just been able to launch an ultra-long bond at a record-low interest rate.
ISRAEL: Following his unexpected but thumping election win, Prime Minister Netanyahu should not have much difficulty forging a new coalition government. Once this has been accomplished, we expect him to soften his stance on the seemingly harsh Right-wing statements he made just before the balloting to rally his base.
MYANMAR: There has been quite a bit of backsliding on democracy by the still-dominant military, and much remains to be done on the economic front to create an environment that welcomes foreign investors and permits the country to rely less on natural resources and the opium trade.
SOUTH AFRICA: The economy finished in 2014 with a growth spurt in the final three months, but this could not salvage it from putting in the worst full-year performance in half a decade. The budget for 2015/16 will add to the woes of consumers and there will be other headaches as well, the ongoing power crisis being just one of them.
SPAIN: With elections approaching, the upstart, anti-austerity Podemos party is still leading the polls, but several factors will prevent it from making its full weight felt. One of its biggest hurdles, given its platform, is the gradual recovery of the Spanish economy.
SWEDEN: The Riksbank, still under fire for having raised interest rates too soon in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, now seems determined to keep monetary policy loose until inflation gathers momentum. This could be a mistake, however. Politically, there is anxiety about Russia’s intentions, which has prompted the government to “remilitarize” the island of Gotland.
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