• Country Risk1 300Tajikistan – an unwitting but hard-pressed victim of Russia’s troubles;
  • Thailand – a lifting of martial law, but in name only;
  • United Arab Emirates – new, more relaxed rules governing IPOs.

ARGENTINA: A slew of measures to benefit consumers are being unveiled as the country prepares for elections, but they will not do much to crank the ailing economy into higher gear. In the tug of war over unrestructured debt Citigroup has been taken off the hook – sort of – but Argentina’s access to the credit markets is even more restricted now.

BRAZIL:  While the benefits of the real’s FX market depreciation are becoming clearer, along with the drawbacks, the signals will continue to point toward weakness so long as the macro-economic situation remains troubling and political developments along with growing social unrest are giving investors pause.

KAZAKHSTAN:  The steppe state has been hit hard by the collapse of the ruble and repercussions from Western sanctions imposed on Russia. It has the wherewithal to cope, but has lost much of its one-time interest in joining a Moscow-led Eurasian Union. Elections this month will pose no problem for President Nazarbayev.

NIGERIA:  The financial markets were elated about last weekend’s elections, not so much because of who won, but because of how the balloting was conducted and how peaceful a transition from one leader to the next it ushered in.  One of Pres. Buhari’s earliest challenges will be to get some order into the messy FX situation.

PANAMA:  Economic growth has slowed, but is still impressive by international standards. The big current-account BoP deficit is largely accounted for by imports of goods needed for investment, and financing it poses no particular problems.

PARAGUAY:  The economy is continuing to prove that it is one of the more resilient in Latin America, even though activity has slowed markedly from the record pace of 2013. Much-needed reforms are making progress, if not in all areas as vigorously as one would wish and not without intermittent back-slipping.

SWITZERLAND:  The consequences for the economy of the National Bank’s decision to abandon the Swiss francs’ exchange rate cap are beginning to make themselves felt and this has triggered a parliamentary debate questioning how the institution operates. This could lead to changes down the road.

UKRAINE:  Having been granted the desperately needed IMF bailout and waiting for the money to arrive, Kiev is now working on covering the rest of its funding needs. This could turn out to be more complicated than expected, especially as there is considerable disagreement among creditors concerning the setbacks they will have to accept as Ukraine seeks a debt revamp.

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