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Latest Reports

  • March 29, 2017

    Political uncertainties threaten nascent global economic recovery

    The strong momentum in the global economy in Q4 has carried over to this year, according to available economic data for Q1. Global GDP is set to expand 2.8% year-on-year in Q1, matching Q4’s result. The recovery, however, appears to be uneven as developed countries are leading most of this year’s upswing in global growth, with robust domestic demand buttressing growth in the Euro area and the United States. While the former is benefiting from strong household spending due to a declining unemployment rate and an accommodative monetary policy, growth in the United States is being propelled by gains in household wealth and a turnaround in investment as a result of a rebound in oil-drilling activity. Despite subdued private consumption, a weak yen and a pickup in global demand are fueling economic activity in Japan.

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  • March 15, 2017

    Poor performance in the South weighed on growth last year

    After five years of deceleration, economic growth in Latin America turned negative in 2016. Comprehensive data showed that the region’s GDP contracted 0.8% last year, after having virtually stagnated in 2015. Deep and prolonged recessions in Brazil and Venezuela, and a notable slump in total output in Argentina and Ecuador, largely explain the aggregate performance in the region. While these four countries contracted in 2016, the region suffered a generalized slowdown. This not only revealed its exposure to external shocks, such as the slump in commodity prices and heightened exchange rate volatility, but also its structural weaknesses, which undermined the region’s potential output growth.

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  • February 15, 2017

    Weak economic performance in 2016 carries over into 2017

    Economic activity in Central America and the Caribbean softened in 2016 mainly due to weak external demand, particularly from the United States. In the full year 2016, growth in the region decelerated to 2.7% from 3.4% in 2015, according to preliminary estimates. The print was below the 3.0% expansion projected last month by our panel of analysts. Economic growth did accelerate in the second half of 2016, supported by improving dynamics in the U.S. and higher commodity prices, and yet this has not carried over into 2017, with regional growth expected to decelerate in Q1.

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  • March 22, 2017

    Activity is strong in the face of global uncertainties

    Recent data suggest that economic dynamics in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are firming, unruffled by an uncertain global backdrop. According to estimates from FocusEconomics analysts, the region will expand 4.8% annually in Q1 2017, above Q4 2016’s 4.7% increase and the second consecutive acceleration in growth. The result, if confirmed, will mark the strongest growth since Q4 2014.

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  • March 22, 2017

    Growth remains strong in Q1 despite mounting political challenges 

    The pick-up in global demand that fueled growth in East and South Asia (ESA) at the end of 2016 appears to have continued this year. Moreover, China’s economy has entered 2017 on a strong footing, which is reverberating across the region. Against this backdrop, the economy of the ESA region is set to expand a healthy 6.1% annually in Q1, just above the 6.0% increase that our panel of analysts projected last month. On another positive note, the region’s growth in Q4 was revised upwards to 6.2% (previously projected: +6.1% year-on-year) as more comprehensive data suggests India weathered the demonetization process surprisingly well despite early signs that the economy had suffered a sizeable slowdown. That said, some analysts suspect Q4’s hefty 7.0% increase could be revised downward in subsequent releases, citing concerns about India’s GDP data accuracy.

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  • March 29, 2017

    Election season has arrived

    The Eurozone’s jam-packed 2017 election cycle is in full swing, taking center stage in market discourse. Results of the first vote in the Netherlands saw the country shrug off earlier worries that the far-right could make significant inroads as Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) lost by a sound margin. While the vote delivered a highly fragmented parliament, boding poorly for a strong and effective government, populist forces performed poorer than expected, suggesting that the threat to the Eurozone from anti-EU parties could be overblown. Overall, the country’s relations with the European Union should proceed largely as usual, reducing risks of political clashes over policy.

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  • February 8, 2017

    Economic activity firms up in Q4

    A complete set of data for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) confirms that activity picked up in the final quarter of last year after a sharp deceleration in Q3. GDP expanded 2.8% annually in Q4, a notch above last month’s preliminary estimate of 2.7% and an acceleration from Q3’s 2.6% growth. The better performance was driven largely by an acceleration in Poland—the region’s largest economy—as well as faster growth in Romania. A tight labor market and fiscal stimulus measures are fueling a consumption boom in Poland and household spending came in at a multi-year in Q4.  

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  • March 8, 2017

    Growth bounces back in Q4, but remains on a feeble footing

    Preliminary data suggest that the economy of South-Eastern Europe regained traction in the fourth quarter after a sharp contraction in Turkey caused the region’s growth to nearly flat-line in Q3. GDP expanded 2.0% annually in Q4, a notable improvement from Q3’s meagre 0.2% expansion but still moderate growth in a historical context. Croatia’s economy gained steam in the final quarter of 2016, growing at the fastest pace in nine years, thanks to booming tourism, rising wages and upbeat sentiment in the economy. Bulgaria’s economy also remained on a firm footing in the period, growing at the same pace as in Q3, and economic activity accelerated in Romania.

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  • February 8, 2017

    2016 was a better year, but the costs were high

    Available data for Q4 2016 indicate a more favorable scenario for the economy of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). GDP rebounded in the final quarter of 2016, increasing 1.2% from the same quarter of the previous year (Q3: -0.3% year-on-year), helped by the easing of the recession in Russia, financial market stabilization and a gradual increase in commodity prices. Q4’s result prompted the region’s economy to increase 0.1% in the full year 2016, which contrasted the 2.0% contraction in 2015.

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  • March 8, 2017

    OPEC members comply with oil cut deal

    Economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) ended 2016 on a strong footing on the back of a pick-up in global growth and higher oil prices. According to preliminary data, the region’s aggregate GDP expanded 2.9% year-on-year in Q4, which was above the 2.8% growth in Q3. Q4’s strong result brought full year growth for 2016 to 2.9%, up from 2.6% in 2015.

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  • March 22, 2017

    Uncertain French election outcome looms heavy over the region

    France keeps the foreign exchange reserves of 14 African economies in its Central Bank and is considered a key player for political stability and counterterrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many French businesses also have deep roots in the continent, particularly in economic activities related to mining and crude oil exploration and extraction. The first round of the French presidential election will be held on 23 April and should no candidate win a majority, a run-off election between the two frontrunners will take place on 7 May. As French ties with former colonies have been close for decades, the newly elected French president’s foreign policy will have a significant impact on them.

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