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Watch List: Sept. 12, 2017

Conscription in Ukraine, Chinese pursuits in Malaysia, Mexico’s economic performance

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  • Last updated: September 15
  • Total word count: 406 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.

  • North Korea: The new United Nations sanctions against North Korea, if enforced, are expected to cut the country’s refined oil imports by nearly a third. The measures also target North Korean textile exports. Does North Korea have the refining capacity necessary to replace the imports? How much does the North rely on textile exports?
  • Ukraine: There have been indications that a conscription drive may be in the works in Donbass. Is there anything unusual here? Is this an early sign of mobilization?
  • China, Malaysia: China docked a submarine in Malaysia just ahead of embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit to the White House. We’ve seen Malaysia drift into China’s orbit lately, with Beijing seizing on Najib’s political problems to gain economic and military inroads in the country on favorable terms. Does this matter to U.S. strategy, and is there anything the U.S. can do about it? Will anything important come from Najib’s Washington visit?
  • Mexico: Industrial activity in Mexico fell by 1.5 percent year over year, the biggest decrease since November 2009. Manufacturing, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the country’s total industrial activity, grew in July but at a slower rate than the previous year. What’s going on with the Mexican economy?
  • Russia: The Russian Ministry of Economic Development has said that pensions in Russia will decline in real terms in the next three years. Pensions will be reduced by 0.7 percent in 2018 and by 0.6 percent in 2019-2020. The ministry also said that only four of the top 17 pension funds outperformed the inflation rate over the past five years. We need to look into the share of pensions in all government expenses.
  • Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has arrested several prominent clerics in what is being described as an attempt to suppress dissent. This comes as the king’s son is trying to consolidate his power and deal with multiple regional challenges. Why have these clerics been arrested? How much opposition does the crown prince face from within the royal family and the clergy?