Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s new president, is promising structural reforms and generating great excitement about his economic model. Mexico’s markets are rallying, but can the reforms stimulate real wages, which have stagnated for more than a decade? John Paul Rathbone, Latin America editor, and Long View columnist John Authers discuss.
The Arab spring seems a world away on the train from Casablana to Rabat. In one compartment a conversation springs up between a local Moroccan, running a machine parts manufacturing business, and a Saudi from a construction company, visiting Rabat to seek migrant labour to help with the booming development in Saudi’s northwest. Cards are exchanged, then brochures; business is done, right here on the rumbling train. Continue reading »
It has been a hard time for investors in Vietnam in recent years. Sky high inflation, lax lending to unproductive sectors – especially state-owned enterprises, a depreciating currency and high levels of non-performing loans have caused foreign investors to think twice about buying into the country.
However, on Sunday the Lunar New Year will be ushered in with spectacular fireworks, wonderful flower markets, family banquets and colourful celebrations. The coming Year of the Snake, the 6th animal in the Chinese zodiac, is commonly associated with focus and discipline. Both will be needed if the government intends to carry on its promise of economic reform. Continue reading »
The timid expansion of Brazil’s GDP in the past 12 months at under 1 per cent deals a hard blow to the notion that its policy makers had devised an economic model uniting high growth with social inclusion. This sweet dream is over. It is wrong to assume that the set of policies Brazil has put in place in the past few years to boost its economy and upgrade its social data are pillars of a new development model. Continue reading »
Russia has talked a lot about economic diversification over the past two decades but it has made little progress in weaning itself off revenues from natural resources. A new report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development sets out recommendations that might stimulate industrial modernization and tries to make sense of Russia’s abiding addiction to oil. Continue reading »
Something does not feel right in Kiev, with a new-old prime minister back in place.
Brawls broke out in parliament ahead of Thursday’s vote by lawmakers to re-instate Mykola Azarov as Ukraine’s prime minister. Then on Friday, an influential oligarch resigned as deputy prime minister in protest at President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to bring Azarov back. Continue reading »
Fresh indications that all is not well with India’s economy: exports fell and imports rose in November, delivering yet another big trade deficit. And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better – not a great outlook for the currency or for equities. Continue reading »
News clips broadcast around the world in the past fortnight of police and protesters clashing violently on the streets of Slovenia do not fit well with either the image nor the usual reality of this small Alpine state, the only fragment of former Yugoslavia (so far) to become a member of the European Union. Continue reading »
Most Romanians will be pleased to see the back of 2012, a year that began with a bitter winter of street protests against austerity and government heavy-handedness, then saw the toppling of two prime ministers, the failed impeachment of an unpopular president, and a constitutional crisis that brought international opprobrium.
But the year may have one more drama in store: on Sunday, Romanians vote in a general election. The governing coalition seems certain to win but Romania’s constitutional set-up means a rather different administration could take shape. Whatever government emerges will be under pressure to negotiate a new deal with the International Monetary Fund and restart reforms to trim the public sector. Continue reading »
Is India right to congratulate itself — as it often does — on its prudent banking regulation? Perhaps not, or at least not quite so frequently, according to Montek Singh Ahluwalia (pictured), one of the country’s most senior technocrats and a close friend of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Continue reading »
Indian markets hit their highest points in over a year on Thursday on reports that the government was set to enact reforms that would open up the pensions sector to foreign direct investment and raise a cap on foreign ownership in the insurance sector. Continue reading »
The Indian government seems to be standing firm on its new reform agenda, despite a wave a protests and the loss of a coalition partner that would have lost the Congress Party its majority.
On Friday – the day after opposition leaders took to the streets to protest a hike in diesel prices and the opening up of multi-brand retail to foreign direct investment – the government gave Indian companies some comfort in the form of a tax break. Continue reading »
The Indian government’s newfound reform agenda was thrown into chaos late on Tuesday when Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal and a member of the ruling coalition (pictured), withdrew her support from the government in protest.
More fundamentally, Tombini announces, “We are going to go horizontal” – meaning that reform – initially of taxes, energy policy and infrastructure investment – will be across the board, rather than to the benefit of the government’s favourite sectors. Great news – if you believe it. Continue reading »
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