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Quarterly ForecastsSep 28, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
2020 Fourth-Quarter Forecast
The last quarter of 2020 will be a waiting game -- waiting for the results of the U.S. election in November, waiting on economic numbers, and waiting to see how the COVID-19 crisis plays out.
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SnapshotsSep 25, 2020 | 17:42 GMT
In Kuwait, a Blocked Debt Law Portends a Dissolved Parliament
Kuwait’s pandemic-related financial struggles may force its leader, Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, to bypass the country’s legislative process in order to push through a crucial debt law that remains locked in parliament. The need to enact other overdue reforms may also tempt Al Sabah to extend a potential parliamentary suspension -- a politically risky move that would also require suspending Kuwait's constitution. On Sept. 23, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Kuwait's sovereign credit rating for the first time to “A1,” citing the country's liquidity crisis that has been brought on by low oil prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its announcement, Moody’s also specifically referenced the Kuwaiti government’s failure to pass a debt law that would help mitigate the country’s current financial woes by enabling its finance ministry to issue sovereign bonds.
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SnapshotsSep 22, 2020 | 22:24 GMT
Reading the Fine Print of Angola’s Debt Restructuring
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s recently announced $1 billion disbursement to Angola is based partly on China indicating a willingness to defer 2020 debts. But Beijing's creditor role may be complicated by possible efforts to take an equity stake in some of the Southern African country's oil fields. And while the funds will help fill some of Angola's financing gaps, there is clearly a market view that the country may require more comprehensive debt restructuring, even if it doesn't happen until 2021 or later. 
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SITUATION REPORTSep 11, 2020 | 22:20 GMT
Peru: Congress Threatens to Impeach President as Political Crisis Erupts
Members of Peru’s Congress submitted a request to begin proceedings to impeach President Martin Vizcarra over his alleged recorded conversation with officials at Peru’s Ministry of Culture, in which they seemingly agree on a cover-up scheme regarding government contracts awarded to a singer for services within the ministry, Reuters reported Sept. 10.
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SnapshotsSep 8, 2020 | 20:05 GMT
The U.K. Turns up the Heat Ahead of the Next Round of Brexit Talks
The desire to avoid further economic disruption amid the COVID-19 crisis will keep the United Kingdom and European Union focused on reaching a limited trade deal before London exits the EU single market on Jan. 1. But threats on both sides to abort negotiations are again increasing the possibility of a no-deal Brexit that would force the European Union and the United Kingdom to trade under costly World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs. The latest round of EU-U.K. trade talks began in London on Sept. 8 and will end on Sept. 11. On Sept. 7, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government would walk away from the negotiations if there is not a deal by Oct. 15. The U.K. government is also expected to unveil a bill on Sept. 9 that "clarifies" certain aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement it negotiated with the European Union late last year, including London's interpretation
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SnapshotsSep 4, 2020 | 20:24 GMT
The U.S. Job Market Starts to Show Signs of Lasting Damage
The U.S. labor market continued to rebound in August, with the economy recovering 1.37 million jobs. But behind that headline number remains a grim picture of an American economy and workforce reeling from the COVID-19 crisis for the foreseeable future. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.37 million jobs in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released on Sept. 4. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell to 8.4 percent from an April high of 14.7 percent. That, however, is the full extent of the "good news," as the report also showed that the overall pace of the labor market's recovery is slowing. Private sector gains were softer than expected, permanent job losses surged to 3.4 million, and total non-farm payrolls remain 52 percent below February's level. 
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SnapshotsSep 3, 2020 | 16:10 GMT
The Eurozone's Economic Rebound Loses Momentum
Early signs indicate the eurozone's economic rebound from the COVID-19 crisis is already losing steam, which will force governments to introduce new rounds of stimulus that deepen their already problematic fiscal deficits. The eurozone contracted by a record 12.1 percent during the second quarter of 2020 as lockdown measures negatively impacted consumption, investment and trade. The lifting of those measures led to an improvement in economic activity since late May, but recent indicators suggest that this rebound is weakening as the rise in COVID-19 cases forces governments to reintroduce social distancing measures and international travel warnings. 
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On GeopoliticsSep 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the United States at night.
The U.S.'s Eurasia Obsession, Part 2: The China Challenge
The United States is in the midst of a strategic refocus from counterterrorism and rogue nation control, to so-called great power competition. While Russia, the Cold War counterpart, remains a concern, China has emerged as the primary near-peer threat. This is reawakening a key element that has long shaped U.S. foreign policy and strategic assessment -- the major power of the Eurasian continent. But U.S. culture is split over the best way to deal with a Eurasian competitor, and domestic political and economic divisions will make it difficult for the United States to maintain a consistent strategy. 
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SnapshotsSep 1, 2020 | 16:24 GMT
U.S. Pressure on TikTok Prompts a Chinese Show of Legal Force
The recent expansion of Chinese export controls reflects a long-term strategy wherein Beijing will move to counter and match U.S. efforts to limit China's global tech rise, leading to a further decoupling of the world's two largest economies. On Aug. 28, the Chinese government increased restrictions on the export of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including text-to-speech technology and data analysis to serve up personalized content. China's ministries in charge of commerce and science and technology jointly released a revised export-control list for the first time since it was compiled in 2008. With these updates, Beijing makes itself a more decisive player in the sale of the popular video-sharing app, TikTok. But more broadly, the new export controls also signal China will deploy its own legal tools to retaliate against the increasingly aggressive use of U.S. export controls to restrict Chinese tech companies abroad.
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SnapshotsSep 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Legislative Proposal Reflects Russia's Post-Putin Dilemma
Moscow's push to limit the powers of future Russian presidents, including a new legislative proposal to strengthen the State Council, could expose President Vladamir Putin to potential challenges in upcoming election cycles. On Aug. 26, members of the Russian State Duma said they were preparing a bill that proposed moving the purview of foreign and domestic policy decisions from the presidency to the State Council. The Kremlin has also stated that executive-level discussions about the future role and responsibilities of the State Council are ongoing. Russian leaders are seeking reforms to shore up institutional powers over concerns that Putin's successors may not have the political strength or focus to maintain Russia's strong centralized leadership. The new constitutional amendment could also potentially extend Putin's rule until 2036 by resetting the number of presidential terms served prior to the change, which would theoretically provide Moscow with much more time to prepare for a
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AssessmentsAug 28, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Legislators attend a plenary session in Tunisia's parliament on June 3, 2020.
Polarized Politics Plagues Tunisia’s Economic Prospects
Tunisia's third attempt to form a government in less than a year is unlikely to resolve the dysfunctional partisan infighting that saw the demise its last two governments, leaving its leaders unable or unwilling to pass the reforms needed to mitigate the country's deepening economic crisis. Following his predecessor Elyes Fakhfakh's July 15 resignation, Tunisia's prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi unveiled a new cabinet of independent technocratic ministers on Aug. 24, which will go to a parliamentary vote on Sept. 1. But even if Mechichi's proposed government is approved by the country's highly divided parliament, Tunisia's deep-rooted party rivalries ensure little actual governing will be done, weakening Tunisia's ability to secure much-needed external funding, as well as serve as a model democracy in the Arab world.
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SnapshotsAug 26, 2020 | 21:36 GMT
The U.S. Expands Its South China Sea Fight to Chinese Firms and Officials
New U.S. restrictions on Chinese companies and individuals involved in supporting Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea still fall short of more extreme options, demonstrating Washington’s desire to avoid derailing outreach to China, even as overall U.S.-China tensions continue to mount. On Aug. 26, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 24 Chinese companies to its entities list, which increases U.S. export controls, for supporting the militarization of China's maritime claims in the South China Sea, specifically citing the violation of Philippine sovereignty as upheld by the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling. The list of entities includes five subsidiaries of the massive state-owned enterprise China Communications Construction Company, as well as one shipbuilding group and numerous telecommunications and electronics companies. The new export controls coincide with the U.S. State Department announcing it would also impose a visa ban on Chinese nationals found to be
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SnapshotsAug 26, 2020 | 20:58 GMT
Despite a Rocky Start, UAE-Israeli Defense Ties Are Poised to Grow
The United Arab Emirates' desire to simultaneously upgrade its defense ties with Israel and the United States will probably create political controversy in both countries, though the benefits of deeper security cooperation with Abu Dhabi is more likely to earn greater support in Israel than Washington. On Aug. 25, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Emirati counterpart, Mohammed al-Bawardi, reportedly discussed possible security cooperation in their two countries' first publicly-known phone call since agreeing to normalize ties. The call came a day after the United Arab Emirates canceled a planned trilateral meeting with the United States and Israel in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public objection to the potential sale of the American F-35 stealth fighter jets to Abu Dhabi.
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AssessmentsAug 26, 2020 | 15:13 GMT
A close-up of a five-euro banknote.
The Eurozone's Upcoming Financial Problems
Escalating soverign debt and fiscal deficit levels in eurozone countries due to the COVID-19 crisis will increase the probability of financial and banking crises in the years ahead, as well as surges in social unrest and higher taxes for both large corporations and big earners. Furlough schemes, subsidies and other forms of welfare spending across the eurozone are mitigating the economic fallout from the pandemic by keeping money in people's pockets and helping sustain domestic consumption at a time of deep recessions. But these schemes are financed through sovereign debt, loans from EU institutions and deepening fiscal deficits -- all of which are unsustainable.
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