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Watch List: March 15, 2017

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  • Last updated: March 15
  • Total word count: 363 words

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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.

  • Russia: Local Russian media reported that Titan-Barrikady, the main defense industrial complex in Volgograd region, will lay off workers in April. Some 40 people near retirement could lose their jobs. A worker said the plant only has state defense orders until 2018 and new orders are uncertain. We will look for additional anecdotal evidence that helps indicate what is being cut in defense spending.
  • Turkey: Turkey’s December 2016 unemployment rate reached 12.7 percent, the highest level since March 2010. This marks a 1.9 percent year-on-year increase and fits with the general trend of rising unemployment in Turkey. Rising joblessness affects public opinion of the government and could affect Turkey’s upcoming constitutional referendum. We need to gauge the public mood in Turkey to determine if this will have any impact on the ruling party’s political position.
  • India: The State Bank of India will give borrowers of tractor and farm equipment loans a one-time 40 percent discount to settle outstanding loans. This is part of the bank’s efforts to take write-downs to solve its non-performing assets problems. Failure to repay loans could be due to structural economic problems or irresponsible bank lending. We suspect the latter and, therefore, need to look at why borrowers have not been able to pay back their loans. A drop in foreign demand could be affecting this sector in India.
  • Syria: Damascus has been the target of multiple bombings over the past two days. Al-Qaida, which the Bashar al-Assad regime has been able to put off dealing with for quite some time, is the suspected culprit. The bombings bring attention back to al-Qaida and make it a target again. We now need to know al-Qaida’s current size in Syria and compare it to Syrian forces to determine if the regime can simultaneously address the Islamic State and al-Qaida.