Day: March 3, 2021

South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: Tito’s tenure

  • The 24 February budget has reinforced the importance of keeping Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his post, but also speculation about his tenure.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to reshuffle his cabinet soon owning to vacancies.
  • However, Mboweni may remain in office for longer on the back of last week’s budget and a lack of credible replacements.
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Focus – A longer term perspective on China’s economy

  • China has racked up extraordinary economic achievements over the past 40 years
  • In so doing it is returning to its historical position in the global ‘pecking order’
  • In the process China has become surprisingly unequal for a ‘socialist’ country
  • It is becoming more assertive, particularly in the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region
  • Though not an immediate threat, its financial system presents medium-term risks


Four decades of extraordinary economic progress

China has made extraordinary economic progress …

China’s economic achievements over the past four decades have been extraordinary.… Read the rest


ARGENTINA: Electoral considerations outranking speedy IMF resolution

It looks increasingly as if the government will try to push talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) beyond October’s partial mid-term legislative elections. President Alberto Fernandez’s combative 1 March speech to mark the opening of the new congressional session appears to confirm this plan of action, which powerful VP Cristina Fernandez (CFK) has been advocating for some time already.… Read the rest


EU: Divisions over vaccination strategy continue to grow

  • Several governments are looking beyond the EU procurement scheme amid continued discontent with the bloc’s overall vaccination strategy.
  • Countries with a high capacity for vaccine deployment and/or greater EU skepticism might be more likely to follow unilateral approaches in the coming weeks.
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Saudi Arabia

MENA: Saudi-US relations under the spotlight

  • The US intelligence community assessment on the Khashoggi assassination is not as damaging as feared.
  • Biden’s strategy is not to downgrade the relationship, but instead to make it conditions-based.
  • Congressional pressure is likely to grow to punish those involved publicly, and to restrict arms sales

The long-awaited US intelligence community assessment that was released last Friday was far less damaging to US-Saudi relations than it was feared to be.… Read the rest

MYANMAR: Political crossroads ahead, with the risk of more violence

  • The demonstrations are frustrating the junta’s attempts to gain legitimacy.
  • Both sides remain entrenched in their positions, which limits the possibility of a political compromise anytime soon.
  • In several scenarios, the economic fallout would be severe.

The level of violence in the junta’s response to the protests has increased significantly in the past ten days, with the worst having been the 18 fatalities during the weekend (although the number is likely higher).… Read the rest