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Latest Reports

  • February 1, 2017

    The world ends 2016 on a strong footing

    The global economy accelerated in the final quarter of 2016 due to a combination of improved conditions in emerging market countries and stronger growth in developed economies. It expanded 2.7% year-on-year in Q4, above the 2.5% rise in Q3 and the strongest print in the full year. Q4’s strong reading brought total growth for 2016 to 2.6%, a notch above the 2.5% previously forecast but well below 2015’s 3.0%. Despite the deceleration in 2016, the global economy managed to navigate its way through troubled waters and perform at a still decent rate. Geopolitical risks remained high in 2016 as a result of the Brexit vote, a still-inflamed Middle East, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential elections, among others. Challenging weather conditions, led by a severe El Niño weather effect, seriously damaged the agricultural sector in some countries, particularly in emerging markets.

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  • February 15, 2017

    Region ends 2016 worse than expected

    A full data breakdown shows that Latin America’s downturn last year was deeper than expected. After having virtually stagnated in 2015, the region’s economy is estimated to have contracted 0.7% in 2016 due to the combined effects of lower commodity prices and capital flight as the commodity super cycle came to an end, heightened volatility in currency markets and severe recessions in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela caused by poor economic policy in the past.

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  • February 15, 2017

    Economic growth decelerates in 2016

    Central America and the Caribbean managed to accelerate timidly in the second half of 2016 supported by improving dynamics in the U.S., which translated into higher remittances and exports, and the recovery in commodities prices. Overall, however, in the full year 2016, growth in the region decelerated to 3.0% from 3.3% in 2015, according to preliminary estimates. Moreover, despite the improving momentum in the second half, clouds are now gathering on the horizon. U.S. President Donald Trump is delivering on his campaign promises to strengthen migration controls. Although no countries in the region are yet affected by Trump’s restrictive policies, there is growing concern that a tougher stance on migration policies in the region could negatively affect all-important remittance flows from the U.S. Moreover, faster-than-expected growth in the U.S. could prompt the Fed to tighten its monetary policy more quickly than previously anticipated, which could fuel volatility in the region’s financial and exchange rate markets.

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  • February 22, 2017

    Economic activity strengthens in Q4 2016

    Economic dynamics strengthened in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the final quarter of 2016, according to a more complete set of data. Regional GDP expanded 4.8% annually, a notch up from Q3’s 4.7% increase and the preliminary estimate reported last month. Growth for the whole year came in at 4.8% in 2016, the strongest reading since 2013, despite a tumultuous second half of the year for global financial markets. 

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  • February 22, 2017

    Sailing uncharted waters

    The economic performance in East and South Asia (ESA) has entered an unclear path at the outset of the year. The ESA economy is heading toward a mild deceleration following five consecutive quarters of steady growth. According to estimates from FocusEconomics analysts, the region will expand 6.0% annually in Q1, just below Q4’s 6.1% growth and the weakest expansion since the height of the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. Nevertheless, the bulk of the slowdown will come from a mild deceleration in China and Taiwan, while other regional players, such as India, will expand at faster rates.

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  • February 1, 2017

    Political clouds can’t rain on economy’s parade 

    Recent data suggest that the Eurozone economy ended 2016 on a bright note, despite it being a rollercoaster of a year in terms of political developments. GDP growth picked up to 0.5% in the fourth quarter, after coming in at 0.3% in the previous two quarters. Rising populism, Brexit and terrorist attacks, on top of other political events, have been unable to dent the economy’s momentum and economic sentiment in the bloc remains at a multi-year high.  

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  • February 8, 2017

    Growth slows to three-year low in 2016

    Preliminary data for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) show that the region’s economy lost steam last year. GDP expanded 2.9%, down from 2015’s 3.6% and the worst result seen since 2013. A notable contraction in fixed investment, which recorded the largest drop since 2009, and a weak external environment were behind the downturn. Mirroring the region, growth slumped to a three-year low in Poland, the region’s largest economy, as booming household consumption failed to compensate for a plunge in investment. 

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  • February 8, 2017

    SEE growth dynamics end year on weak footing after economy plummets in Q3 on Turkish contraction 

    A full set of data confirmed that the economy of the South-Eastern Europe (SEE) region barely grew in the third quarter of last year. GDP expanded just 0.1% on an annual basis, which marked a significant deceleration from the 3.8% increase seen in the previous quarter and the slowest reading in nearly four years. The subdued result was primarily due to a contraction in the Turkish economy, where GDP dropped 1.8% year-on-year. The decrease in Turkey’s GDP was the first in seven years and broadly reflected the consequences of heightened political unrest and the systematic weakening of the lira. Decelerations were also recorded in Bulgaria and Romania as weak external sectors and decelerations in fixed investment due to a slower absorption of EU funds took a toll on growth. Estimates for the final quarter of 2016 show that growth dynamics continued to be weak, even if the economy likely improved from the frail expansion recorded in Q3.

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  • February 8, 2017

    Regional economy bottoms out in 2016

    The economy of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) unexpectedly managed to return to growth in 2016, albeit increasing only 0.1%. This was mainly due to the strengthening of the Russian economy toward the end of the year, which accounts for 70% of regional GDP. A combination of stabilizing commodity prices and reduced geopolitical tensions—particularly between Russia and Ukraine—also supported exchange rates and improved overall confidence in the CIS region.

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  • February 8, 2017

    Trump’s measures threaten to destabilize region

    Although recent data corroborate that economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) accelerated slightly in 2016, it also revealed that faster regional growth was mostly due to economic improvements in a limited number of countries rather than broad-based progress. According to our estimates, the region’s aggregate GDP expanded 2.8% in 2016, up from 2015’s 2.7% growth. The region mostly benefited from a better political and economic situation in Iraq as the government was able to regain control of large swaths of land in the hands of the Islamic State. As a result, Iraq is expected to have emerged from recession in 2016. Meanwhile, Iran’s reintegration into the global economy propelled growth in the Persian country to a six-year high. The positive effects of the opening of Iran’s economy, however, are not yet being felt across the region due to ongoing political rifts between Iran and Saudi Arabia and a still challenging business environment in the country. Israel also closed 2016 on a strong note due to an accommodative monetary policy, a low unemployment rate and strong private spending.

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  • February 22, 2017

    2016 marks SSA’s worst economic performance in over two decades

    The economy of Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) is set to have recorded its worst economic performance in over two decades in 2016. A preliminary estimate shows that the region’s aggregate GDP increased 1.1% year-on-year in Q4 2016, which followed an equally weak 1.0% expansion in Q3. As a result, growth is expected to have fallen to 1.2% in 2016 from 3.2% in 2015, which marks the region’s worst economic performance since 1993. The combination of low commodity prices, weak external demand, severe weather conditions and security problems took a large toll on economic activity in the region last year.

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