- Brazil – negotiations to freeze budget spending;
- Dominican Republic – strong growth, robust peso;
- Georgia – benefitting from its Western connections;
- Tanzania – the shilling has fallen to an all-time low.
EGYPT: President al-Sisi is doing well in polishing Egypt’s international image and, importantly, in paving the way for an economic rebound. Most of the indicators are now pointing in the right direction. There are first indications, though, that at home criticism of his once untouchable government is starting to build.
GREECE: The country is now in the endgame of its debt and insolvency saga, as domestic conditions keep getting worse and further large payments are looming. There is talk that progress toward a deal with the bailout lenders is being made at long last, but such talk, of course, has been heard before without having much basis in fact.
INDONESIA: Under growing pressure to do more to give the flagging economy a boost, the Central Bank is keeping monetary policy tight but is loosening lending rules. This may not do much to bolster economic activity. Much more important would be a resurgence of FDI, but official policy seems schizophrenic in this area.
JAPAN: PM Abe and the BofJ may not be overjoyed at the results the bean counters gave them for the first quarter, but they should be content that the numbers suggest Abenomics is working. Also, the weak yen has been pumping up the earnings of Japan Inc.; this should, in time, translate into higher wages and stepped-up consumption.
MACEDONIA: A festering political crisis is rocking this former part of Yugoslavia. If the outburst gets worse or proves protracted, it could do serious damage to an economy that otherwise has a reasonably positive outlook.
RUSSIA: Pres. Putin has been putting a rosy spin on things with his assertions that the worst for the economy is over, but there have been signs that conditions will not get as bad as some pundits had predicted. US Secretary of State Kerry evidently carried the message to Sochi that the sanctions could be eased if only Moscow contented itself with what it has already grabbed.
SWEDEN: The Central Bank may cut interest rates further into negative territory, considering that it has been singularly ineffective so far in reviving inflation and the economy. A Foreign Minister failing to mince her words is discovering the dangers of having too frank a tongue.
VENEZUELA: With an inflation rate headed for 200% and official FX reserves at their lowest since 2003, the country is in for critical times. While many expect it to default this year, the markets apparently do not. But participants in the Petrocaribe project are seeking to lessen their dependence. In upcoming elections, the regime may for the first time face resistance from within its own ranks.
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