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Watch List: Oct. 10, 2017

Germany’s economy, a new Syrian “government,” Chilean copper

|October 10, 2017

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.

  • Germany: Factory output increased 3 percent in August year over year, an indication of strong demand and a sign that GDP growth is still higher than we expected. Unemployment rates have reached a record low. We will continue to review our forecast of Germany.
  • Syria: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a coalition of jihadists led by the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, is said to have formed a government in northern Syria that opposes intervention by Iran, Turkey and Russia. According to reports, the government is a result of the Syrian General Conference, which was held in mid-September. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is the group that a few months ago took control of Idlib from a Turkish proxy group. Turkey has since launched a military operation in Idlib. How do these developments fit with Turkey’s strategy in Syria and thus the balance of power in the region?
  • North Korea: The seating chart has changed for a national event in North Korea. This is no minor issue; past alterations have indicated elevations and eliminations in the supreme leader’s inner circle. What does this tell us, if anything, about North Korean foreign policy?
  • China: In a recent interview, the chief of China’s central bank promoted some ideas that seem antithetical to current government policy. He said that the country should embrace free trade and investment, that Beijing should abandon capital account controls and that the market should determine the value of the yuan. The bank chief has held his position for 15 years and is nearing the age of retirement, but the interview was probably sanctioned by the government, as such interviews often are. Still, what he said is less interesting than what the act of saying it tells us about the state of dissension among Chinese policymakers, especially ahead of the party congress in October.
  • China: Beijing is creating new measures to discourage property speculation, according to the deputy head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics. The official did not provide details. Do we have a sense of what the new measures might entail and when they might be implemented?
  • Chile: Chile’s copper exports reached their highest monthly value since 2014. What is the source of the increased demand for Chilean copper?
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: Husein Bilal Bosnic, a Wahhabi leader in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is converting inmates serving time at Zenica prison. Is Wahhabism spreading in the Balkans?

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