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Analysis

Commentary

Trump impeachment risk rises

by Brian Reading in London | Fri 26 May 2017

President Donald Trump’s sacking of FBI Director James Comey has put impeachment back on the agenda. If Trump had not appeared to be trying to thwart investigators, accusations that Russia attempted to rig the 2016 presidential election might have remained background noise. Now the alleged collusion of Trump’s staff with the Russians is centre stage again. Whether the president is impeached will depend on popular opinion, election arithmetic and the economy.

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Advice for Trump from Europe

by David Marsh in London | Thu 25 May 2017

Donald Trump, this week on the European leg of his first international tour, might like to take some local advice on how to rescue his presidency from the maelstrom into which it appears to be descending. Buoyed perhaps by a week away from Washington, Trump will have had time to reflect. He can learn lessons from the experience of European leaders, past and present, from the UK, Germany and France. One lesson to which former prime ministers, chancellors and presidents could attest: watch out for the secret service.

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Don't be alarmed by the end of QE

by Adam Glapiński in Warsaw | Wed 24 May 2017

Unconventional monetary policies like quantitative easing have been around for too long. Though one cannot deny their positive effects, these policies distort the basic mechanism of resource allocation, damage the financial system, discourage values such as thrift and stimulate moral hazard. That is why ending them may be far more beneficial than expected, even for those they have helped.

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Another May U-turn

by Meghnad Desai | Wed 24 May 2017

When Theresa May, the British prime minister, called a general election, people saw it as a masterstroke. Given the state of the Labour party, a sweeping victory for the Conservatives seemed guaranteed. After the launch of the Conservative party manifesto, that certainty disappeared. Plans to make more people pay for their social care costs caused uproar. With the party’s lead in the polls dropping sharply, May was forced into a U-turn.

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High price of reducing uncertainty in Greece

by Vicky Pryce and Danae Kyriakopoulou | Wed 24 May 2017

After seven volatile years of negotiations and a seven-hour Eurogroup meeting on Monday, a solution to Greece’s debt problem remains elusive. Disagreement between Germany and the IMF on debt relief for Athens lies at the heart of the stalemate over the latest stage of the bail-out programme. But the clock is ticking. A release of further funds is essential if Greece is to avoid default when it is called to repay around €7bn of maturing loans in July.

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Iran votes for openness

by Danae Kyriakopoulou in London | Tue 23 May 2017

For a few hours after winning Iran's presidential election, Hassan Rouhani could be forgiven for thinking his task might be easier this time around compared with when he first won the post in 2013. Speaking in Saudi Arabia soon after the announcement, Donald Trump signalled a rejection of Barack Obama's policies towards Tehran. But Iran's recent economic reforms, resource wealth and prospects for greater openness point towards increasing levels of foreign investment into the country.

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Temer's progress shaken by new scandal

by David Smith in Buenos Aires | Mon 22 May 2017

Now is supposed to be when the government of Brazil seeks passage of extensive pension reforms and validates the faith markets put in President Michel Temer. Instead, questions are being raised about a recording that allegedly makes him complicit in bribing a jailed former head of the lower house of Congress. Temer is facing calls for impeachment, his coalition partners are abandoning the government, and indices across the region have suffered the worst decline since the 2008 financial crisis.

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Income gap poisons politics

by Brian Reading in London | Fri 19 May 2017

The growing divide between the haves and have nots is a big factor in the discontent in most advanced economies. The middle classes, in particular, are feeling the pinch as wages stagnate or fall and jobs are eradicated by technology. In Britain, in the run-up to June’s general election – politicians need to watch their step.

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Oil exporters struggle to diversify

by Bhavin Patel in London | Fri 19 May 2017

Brent crude prices have more than halved to around $50 a barrel since mid-2014, putting the economies of Arab oil exporters under pressure. Traditionally, these countries respond to economic downturns by increasing current spending and reducing investment spending. With borrowing in the Middle East at record levels and attempts to diversify its economies slowing, there is a risk that the region’s debt will become unsustainable.

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Institutions propelling African green issuance

by David Marsh in Nairobi | Thu 18 May 2017

Africa has slid down investors’ lists of favoured investment destinations as a result of the fall in oil and commodity prices of the last three years. However, in one fast growing but still undersized section of international capital markets there could be room for African countries to play a leading role. The new frontier for Africa may be the issuance of ‘green bonds’ to finance environmentally friendly projects under a range of initiatives by governments, banks and international development agencies.

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