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Watch List: Jan. 9, 2017

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  • Last updated: January 9
  • Total word count: 531 words


The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance.

Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues.

  • Iraq: According to news broadcaster Al Arabiya, Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) has reached the bank of the Tigris River. The battle for Mosul is constantly on our radar, but we need more information on this report in particular. If CTS has managed to push the Islamic State across the river or is close to doing so, it would represent a major step forward in the Iraqi campaign to retake Mosul from IS.
  • India: A report by the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation says that small services companies in India cut a third of jobs and saw their revenues cut in half in the month after the government demonetized the country’s currency. Those are rather stark numbers. We need to benchmark them, starting with figuring out the share of India’s total workforce and this sector’s total revenue. Let’s also look into whether this decline is temporary or projected to continue.
  • China: China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) held a meeting Friday to Sunday. A communiqué released after the meeting said that China would set up a new national supervisory commission to enforce the law and reform the state supervisory system. CCDI has been President Xi Jinping’s main instrument in carrying out his purges as part of the anti-corruption campaign. Let’s look into whether he now is purging the purgers. As details become available on this new commission, we need to be watching the direction this takes.
  • Australia: A quarterly report released by Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has sent the media into a tizzy because it forecasts low iron ore prices in 2017-2018 ($49 a ton). There two important things to look into here. First, we need to re-examine our assumptions that the increase in Chinese demand in 2016 was a fluke and will decline in the coming year. Second, we need to figure out how important this decrease in iron ore prices is for the Australian economy.
  • Iraq-Turkey: Iraq says Turkey has agreed to pull its troops out of Bashiqa in northern Iraq, just outside of Mosul. However, Turkey says if Iraq doesn’t take action against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Sinjar, Turkey will deal with the matter itself. Let’s determine what Turkey is trying to accomplish with this diplomatic move. Not enough troops are stationed in Bashiqa to be of any military consequence, so this isn’t about the realities on the ground.
  • Venezuela: Venezuela’s National Assembly will debate today whether to call on President Nicolás Maduro to abandon his position for failure to complete constitutional functions during an economic and political crisis. Let’s determine where this will go from here. We need to figure out if these are more empty words and politicking or whether this could be a disruptive event.