- Brazil – putting the inflation fight ahead of economic stimulation;
- Chile – downward revised predictions;
- Ecuador – banks now must accept the dinero electronico;
- Greece – brinkmanship down to the wire.
ARGENTINA: There is less optimism now that whoever replaces Pres. Fernandez in the October elections will be able to liberalize regulations and turn the economy around quickly. Meanwhile, the country is racking up fresh debt even faster than during the run-up to the 2001-2002 crisis.
FRANCE: The country is in the process of passing a tough new security bill and is calling for a reinforcement of the coalition fighting ISIS. At home, businesses are still waiting to see benefits from the recovery promised by Pres. Hollande, but the economy has been turning around even without getting the French to work more hours.
ITALY: The results of the regional elections were not exactly a triumph for PM Matteo Renzi, but they were also not the disaster as which some press commentary has sought to depict them. If there was one clear winner it was the anti-euro, anti-immigrant Northern League, but this will not cause Mr. Renzi and his party to slow down their reform drive.
JAMAICA: The Island has won a credit-rating upgrade from Moody’s that underscores the progress it is making in cutting its debt and diversifying the economy. Growth is starting to pick up and the outlook has improved. The government is also working on a reform of 200-year-old laws in an effort to attract more foreign investment.
LIBYA: The country is edging ever closer to an economic collapse. The two rival governments are incompetent and corrupt and elections to end the conflict are a pipedream. The only one benefitting from the mess is ISIS, which is spreading out with ease in the power vacuum.
SOUTH AFRICA: The markets expect the CB to raise interest rates in the not too distant future, even though the economy’s performance has been miserable so far this year. The problems besetting it cannot be remedied with monetary policy. Now foremost among them are power shortages due to a lack of maintenance and investment by Eskom.
UKRAINE: As the debt stand-off drags on, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the mid-month deadline for an agreement is met. The IMF has said an accord is vital before it reviews the country’s progress ahead of the disbursement of more aid. If the talks stretch into the Summer, the country’s financial position could become untenable.
VIETNAM: Hanoi is said to be weighing a US request to halt construction on artificial islands in the South China Sea and there is some hope that this will lead to better relations with the PRC. For Vietnam, this would be good business as it seeks to bump up the GDP growth rate from a good first-quarter performance.
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