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AssessmentsSep 25, 2020 | 20:27 GMT
A picture taken on Aug. 14, 2018, shows the logo of Turkey's central bank at the entrance of its headquarters in Ankara.
Contextualizing Turkey’s Surprise Interest Rate Hike
On Sept. 24, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announced a surprise interest rate hike in a preemptive move that seeks to prevent the country’s depreciating currency from unfolding into a larger banking or balance of payments and external debt crisis. The steadily declining value of Turkey’s national currency, the lira, is largely the result of economic imbalances -- partially precipitated by a highly negative real interest rate, a credit-fueled construction boom, and large external financing needs, as well as the CBRT’s lack of credibility and near exhaustion of Ankara’s foreign currency reserves.
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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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SnapshotsSep 17, 2020 | 21:19 GMT
U.S.: Is the Fed Out of Ammo?
Comments by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicate growing concern that the Federal Reserve lacks the policy tools needed to achieve objectives related to U.S. employment and inflation. Monetary policy can no longer create demand in the U.S. economy and further fiscal stimulus is needed.
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On GeopoliticsSep 4, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image of the Middle East and North Africa. 
A New Brand of Nationalism Takes Root in the Middle East
Once the salve for crushed Middle Eastern empires, Pan-Islamism and its vision of a singular caliphate are now increasingly seen as a threat to stability in the region, with countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia turning toward nationalism to instead define their policies and behavior. Indeed, even the countries that still claim to embody the movement’s ideals, such as Qatar and Turkey, are only doing so as a means to a nationalist end, exploiting its preachings of Islamic unity to project their government’s strength at home and abroad. This trend has most recently been illuminated by the UAE-Israel normalization pact by dealing yet another blow to the idea that a global Muslim community, despite its many differences, could at the very least agree on issues such as the Palestinian question. 
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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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AssessmentsSep 2, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
A view looking up at the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington D.C. on July 1, 2020.
What to Make of the U.S. Fed's New Approach to Inflation
The U.S. Federal Reserve's switch from inflation targeting to inflation averaging confirms it will keep interest rates near zero for a prolonged period, even if prices begin to rise. This will not have an immediate impact on monetary policy given extended shortfalls from targets by both the Fed and other major central banks. But the move may pressure the European Central Bank (ECB) and others to also adopt new approaches to inflation and employment. It will likely result in a somewhat weaker U.S. dollar for a longer time as well, which will come as relatively good news for emerging markets barring another shift in global risk aversion. 
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SnapshotsAug 28, 2020 | 20:37 GMT
In Japan, a Post-Abe Era Emerges Sooner Than Expected
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's shock resignation risks returning Japan to a cycle of short-lived administrations, which is unlikely to yield major shifts in domestic or foreign policy. On Aug. 28, after weeks of speculation over his health, Abe announced that he will be resigning from his post once the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chooses a replacement. In addition to the LDP, Abe himself will also partially determine the succession process, meaning his successor will adhere to the party's long-term policy objectives. But even if secure in their post, Japan's next prime minister will find it difficult to muster the level of power Abe has accrued over his nearly eight years in office and tight control over the Japanese government, which enabled him to go head-to-head with key counterparts abroad. Abe's personal political clout also outmatched that of previous political leaders, which allowed him to bypass internal LDP factions and
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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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SnapshotsAug 21, 2020 | 18:16 GMT
The U.S. ‘Snaps Back’ at Iran and the U.N. With Restored Sanctions
Iran will wait until after U.S. elections to decide whether to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in response to the United States' move to restore all U.N. sanctions. Europe, China and Russia, meanwhile, will forgo any large arms sales to Iran due to the expanded sanctions risk, despite not officially recognizing the U.S. action. On Aug. 20, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified the United Nations that the U.S. government was "snapping back" all sanctions on Iran, citing Tehran's significant non-compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The letter comes nearly a week after the U.N. Security Council rejected Washington's proposed resolution to indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. Only the Dominican Republic sided with the United States on extending the arms embargo, which is currently set to expire on Oct. 18.
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SnapshotsAug 19, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Argentina's New Debt Deal Is Just the First Step in Its Recovery
The deteriorating global and local economic conditions due to COVID-19 paved the way for a breakthrough in deadlocked negotiations between Argentina and its creditors by adding an impetus for debt reduction. Unlike previous rounds of talks that ended in long and acrimonious disputes, negotiations this time yielded a concrete agreement to significantly restructure roughly $65 billion in Argentine sovereign debt. But while the new debt deal is a significant accomplishment, Argentina's economic recovery still depends on President Alberto Fernandez's ability to balance his populist credentials against the need to appease the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and provide a healthy environment for investment by implementing structural reforms. 
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PodcastsAug 18, 2020 | 22:37 GMT
Essential Geopolitics: The Inter-American Development Bank Election
In this episode of the Essential Geopolitics podcast from Stratfor, a RANE company, Middle East and North Africa Analyst Ryan Bohl speaks with Latin America Analyst Cesar Martinez about controversial U.S. efforts to secure votes for the U.S. nominee for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank, Mauricio Claver-Carone.
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