• Country Risk1 300Mauritius – the rupee seems to have regained its balance;
  • Trinidad & Tobago – shortages of FX still persist, delaying payments;
  • Venezuela – worsening relations with the US.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:  The European Union has decided to move ahead with a pre-accession pact, in the hope that the Bosnian leadership will stick to its reform commitments. This is a considerable gamble, given the fractured nature of what is called government in this “country.” The EU understands, however, that time is of the essence.

BULGARIA:  After a tough two years in which it had to cope with five governments, street protests and a banking crisis, the country is getting back to a semblance of normality. The economy is showing modest growth and the focus currently is on extending a fence along the Turkish border, this one to keep people out, not in.

CHINA:  Official statistics for the first quarter confirm the economic slowdown that everyone knew was in the making, but also that, for now, nothing worse than a soft landing need be feared. The authorities will continue to move gingerly in applying what stimulus they can. They are pushing, meanwhile, to accelerate the internationalization of the yuan.

FINLAND:  The new PM does not represent a big ideological shift from the old one and the incoming government will again be a multi-party one. But the country is in difficult straits and the Russian sanctions are not helping. The financial markets still treat the country with respect, however, S&P’s rating cut last year notwithstanding.

JAPAN:  Economists around the globe have been quick to declare Abenomics a failure. Actually, there are positive signs, except not where traditionalists had expected them. Critical reforms are still missing, but this is not to say that nothing has been achieved.

KOREA (SOUTH):  The economy is continuing to make progress, albeit not at the clip the authorities would want. This has led to a debate between the government and the Central Bank as to which should head an effort to stimulate. Debt risks have been alleviated by changes in the mortgage law.

MALAYSIA:  The economy continues to do well, with positive effects from the global oil price plunge offsetting the negative ones. Consumer spending remains a prop for growth. The political risks are growing, however, and this is significant also for the economy, as Malaysia is vulnerable to volatility in investors sentiment.

SOUTH AFRICA:  The weakness of the rand was supposed to aid exporters and put some pep into the economy, but the beneficial influence has been offset by the latest eruption of anti-immigrant violence and, in some places, by uncertainty about electricity supplies. Additionally, there is growing concern that the Reserve Bank may have to raise interest rates to fight inflation risks.

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