• Argentina – A new CPI to come and an end to the soybean “strike;”
  • Ghana – predictions of a large further devaluation;
  • Kenya – arrest of CB President ordered;
  • Turkey – a yawning current-account BoP deficit; Venezuela – protest demonstrations.

AUSTRALIA:  The Reserve Bank seems to have accepted the AUD’s strength and has ended its two-year monetary easing cycle. The Aussie dollar is still likely to fall over the coming year, despite the (premature?) expectation of stronger economic growth.

BOLIVIA:  The economy is doing well, both internally and externally, and the near-term prospects are quite bright, some problem areas notwithstanding. Socio-politically, though, the country is on the verge of becoming an international center of organized crime and terrorist-related activities.

CANADA:  The Finance Ministry has stepped up efforts to return the country to a fiscal surplus notwithstanding the sluggishness of the economy. The official hope is that the CAD’s FX market decline will bring sufficient relief to exporters to spur shipments abroad and with them the economy as a whole. There are, however, still downside risks the authorities need to worry about.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC:  The country has a new president and a new PM, both meant to be transitional. The UN Security Council has approved the deployment of European troops. It has also created a sanctions regime. But there is no guarantee that any of this will suffice to halt the killing and lead this vast land to stability and economic progress.

CHINA: The Year of the Horse began with a fresh slew of dire predictions for the economy, ranging from a dramatic slowdown in activity to a credit collapse because of uncontrollable bad debts. The warnings of stalling growth are wildly exaggerated, however, and those pertaining to debt are premature.

INDONESIA: Economic growth quickened in last year’s final quarter and the rupiah has been stronger so far in 2014, but it is still questionable whether either of these developments can be sustained. On the negative side, a ban on raw ore exports is likely to hurt the external accounts.

KAZAKHSTAN: The large devaluation to which the tenge has been subjected makes one wonder why the authorities wanted to give the country that much room in macroeconomic terms. Inflation is not much of a problem at this point, however, while the current-account balance of payments surplus has dwindled.

YEMEN: The country’s geopolitical importance will see to it that foreign powers remain involved in Yemen’s political and economic transition, but this continues to be a fragile process with an uncertain outcome. While the political future remains hard to predict, policy paralysis will drag on the economy.

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