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Watch List: Oct. 4, 2017

Turkey’s economic outlook, uncertainty in the Balkans, Russia’s oil production

|October 4, 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: Turkey’s gross foreign debt amounts to more than half of its gross domestic product. Turkish inflation rose for the second consecutive month, reaching 11.2 percent. What does Turkey’s short-term and medium-term economic future look like?
  • Balkans: According to Kosovo’s president, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence promised that the U.S. would participate in talks between Serbia and Kosovo. He also claims they discussed the formation of an army in Kosovo. Meanwhile, relations between Serbia and Croatia seem to be deteriorating. Serbia’s president even postponed a visit to Croatia. These may be separate items but they both pertain to our review of the Balkans. We first need to determine whether there is any truth behind or significance in the comments made by Kosovo’s president. We then need to understand whether the Serbia-Croatia spat is political melodrama, or whether it is indicative of instability in the region.
  • Russia: Russia cut oil production by 346,000 barrels per day in September. Let’s put this in context of monthly Russian production this year. Is Russia abiding by the cuts it promised to make under the deal reached with OPEC producers? Why is Moscow cutting production now?
  • Turkey, Iran: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Tehran on Oct. 4. When was this meeting scheduled, and what, if anything, does it tell us about the short-term trajectory of Turkish-Iranian relations? Is this trip about Iraqi Kurdistan and its recent independence referendum or something else?
  • North Korea: There are reports that North Korea is running low on gas, and that only military and political elites can fill their cars with fuel. Let’s look into whether these reports are accurate and, if they are, whether they will affect Pyongyang’s strategy.
  • Europe: In an attempt to reduce systemic risk, the European Central Bank is considering requiring banks to hold a greater amount of collateral against nonperforming loans. But since these new requirements will also restrict credit to potential borrowers, they could slow economic growth. How substantial are the new collateral requirements?
  • Philippines: The personal finances of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are under investigation. This was always a potential political consequence for reaching out to China, a move some say was motivated by personal gain. Is he still bulletproof?
  • Japan: With elections looming, multiple parties in Japan have expressed interest in reforming Article 9, which relegates the nation’s military to a defensive force. What are the views of the major parties in the country, and what sort of change could we expect to see? How would this affect the regional geopolitics?
  • China: China’s building materials sector is seeing declines in output. Restrictions on real estate purchases in dozens of cities have hampered the industry’s growth. We should look into which industries are most affected and how it could affect employment.

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