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Watch List: Oct. 12, 2017

Erdogan visits Serbia, Russian-German trade grows, Russia’s banking sector

|October 12, 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.

  • Turkey, Serbia: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Serbia. Reports suggest his meetings were more cordial than we might have anticipated. What is Turkey’s interest in Serbia, and what is Serbia’s interest in Turkey? Are these just normal diplomatic niceties, or is there some common ground between the two?
  • Russia, Germany: According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian-German trade is up 25 percent this year, and investments are up too. Improved relations between the two would have implications for our forecast. Are these reliable statistics? What was the volume of trade in previous years, especially before sanctions were imposed on Russia?
  • Russia: Profits in Russia’s banking sector are expected to reach $17 billion by the end of 2017. In addition, the Russian government reportedly wants banks to pay dividends to the federal budget to help Russia cover its deficit. Let’s find out whether these figures are reliable and what they tell us about the Russian economy.
  • Syria: The Islamic State claims it has recaptured an oil field in eastern Syria that the Syrian Democratic Forces took back in September. Most signs indicate that IS has been struggling to hold territory. Is this a one-off event or does IS still have some fight left in it?
  • India: India’s finance minister says the government will consider the inclusion of real estate purchases in the Goods and Services Tax. This is essentially the next phase of the government’s plan to centralize power, following its demonetization campaign last year. We need to evaluate what the Indian government is trying to achieve and its prospects for success.
  • China: According to research firm AidData, China is spending a lot of money on foreign aid (very broadly defined). Russia is the top recipient of what the agency calls “other official flows” of Chinese money ($36.6 billion). These numbers aren’t very big for China, but do they point to a broader dynamic of economic cooperation between China and Russia? Just how much money is China investing in Russia?

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