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Country Risk Climates: Trends to Keep an Eye On

  • Risk iStock_000016809464SmallBulgaria – the PM has resigned, leaving the banking crisis unresolved;
  • Ecuador – a novel effort to “replace” the dollar as legal tender;
  • Indonesia – Jokowi is the President-elect, yet challenges conjure up the prospect of weeks of uncertainty;
  • Ukraine – PM Yatsenyuk has stepped down, making way for elections;
  • United States – seeking to block corporate “inversions.”

CHINA: Economic growth picked up slightly in the second quarter, suggesting stimulus efforts have succeeded in offsetting the impact of a weak property market. Local governments have been doing their own work in this respect, but some of the borrowing they are now allowed to do needs careful screening.

CUBA:  There have been hints that a breakthrough in US-Cuban relations may be in the offing, but it is hard to tell whether the reports are true and in the meantime Havana has been busy strengthening its ties with Moscow and Beijing.

GHANA:  Even the lower end of the current range of economic growth forecasts sounds impressive by international standards, but it marks an economy that is in decline. While the Central Bank has been ratcheting up interest rates, inflation is apt to accelerate further and the cedi will register additional declines.

HUNGARY:  The CB has ended a two-year cycle of monetary and credit easing. Banks have to worry, however, about the losses they will sustain as a result of plans to force them to repay “unfair” charges on foreign-currency loans. The economy is recovering and the risks to growth look manageable.

ROMANIA:  The new head of the opposition Liberal party, the ethnic German mayor of a Transylvanian city, is now Leftist PM Victor Ponta’s strongest challenger in the approaching presidential elections. The economy has its problems, but has picked up momentum. January 1, 2019 is now the target date for joining the Eurozone.

SOUTH SUDAN:  An end to the fighting between the government and rebel forces supporting the former Vice President is not yet in sight While both sides are running out of cash, the rebels are being supported by Khartoum and the government gets help from the Chinese.

THAILAND:  Eager to gain popular good will, the military junta has kept many of the populist policies of the ousted government on the books and has added a few of its own. The economy should rebound in the second half. The generals are maintaining a tight political grip, however, even as they lay out a roadmap for a return to civilian rule.

UNITED KINGDOM:  Signs of a speed-up of inflation and unemployment at a 5½-year low are not likely to persuade the policy makers at the Bank of England to start raising interest rates so long as wages are going sideways. The massive government reshuffle announced by PM Cameron has brought in a Eurosceptic Cabinet.

This page is provided by S.J. Rundt & Associates, Inc., specialists in country risk assessment, consultants to multinational companies & banks, and publishers of Rundt’s World Business Intelligence and The Financial Executive’s Country Risk Alert. To order a subscription or individual issues of these reports, in print or by e-mail, contact S.J. Rundt & Associates, P.O. Box 1572, Montclair, NJ 07042; Telephone: (973) 731-7502, Fax: (973) 731-7503; E-mail: [email protected];  Web site: www.rundtsintelligence.com.

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