• Country Risk1 300Australia – interest rate cut;
  • Chile – a massive Cabinet reshuffle;
  • Egypt – feeding more dollars into the FX market;
  • Finland – a Eurosceptic party may join the governing alliance;
  • Syria – emergency aid from Iran.

CHAD: The Republic of Chad reached a milestone of sorts by completing requirements for the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, which will allow it to cancel a big part or even all of its external debt of nearly USD 1 billion. This should certainly make up for the fall in oil export revenues.

GREECE: Negotiations on a change in the bailout conditions are coming down to the wire and for now there is no sign of a serious rapprochement. There is a chance that the ECB may toughen its stance next Monday, tightening liquidity conditions for Greek banks that are already having trouble trading foreign currencies.

INDONESIA:  Even though the economy is just slowing, Pres. Widodo has been losing support because he has not turned out to be the dramatically new hand at the helm that many voters wanted him to be. But the country’s cushions against shocks from abroad have been strengthened sufficiently to allow it to adapt to lower commodity prices.

ISRAEL:  The country has a new government under Premier Netanyahu, one that is his most Right-wing administration yet. While early elections were called in the hope they would pave the way for a more stable and cohesive coalition, however, the new alliance may prove brittle and will make governing more difficult for him, not easier.

NEPAL:  The country is just coming out of the first stage that usually marks the aftermath of big national disasters. As it enters the second, it is becoming even more evident that its bureaucracy is not up to the task. Fortunately, help from two big neighbors and many other sources is available.

NIGERIA: The country has borrowed more than half the amount it has budgeted for the full year as it struggles to deal with sharply reduced income from oil. The incoming President Buhari will have to deal with a number of tough issues, which he has promised to start tackling as soon as he is sworn in at the end of May.

THAILAND:  An effort to ease capital controls is aimed at lowering the baht’s exchange rate. Messing up the economy is the one way the ruling junta could lose support fast, and a new rubber support scheme suggests that the lessons from rice have not been learned.

TURKEY:  The closer the country gets to the June 7 elections, the less solid the President’s and his AKP Party’s grip on the electorate appears. If he wins, internal security and surveillance laws will be further tightened, economic ties with Iran will be strengthened, and Turkey will move further away from its close defense links with NATO and the West.

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