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Commentary

Mon 11 Dec 2017 / Europe

Now May must communicate and campaign

Theresa May and the European Union have shown they both want a 'good' agreement over UK withdrawal. The deal struck on 8 December after much tortuous negotiation underlines how all sides are willing and able to strike compromises furthering mutual interests. But problems remain. Many stem from within the UK, where Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are not disposed to compromise in the same way. Much will depend on May's communicative and campaigning skills.

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Tue 7 Nov 2017 / Middle East

Saudi recession must catalyse reform

Saudi Arabia's move into recession is the clearest sign yet of potential upheaval and the need for reform. The likelihood that oil demand will peak in the next 10 years makes economic diversification not merely an ambition but a necessity for the kingdom with an ailing private sector, rising unemployment and average age of less than 30. Greater liberalisation and modernisation of the sort espoused by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will play a key role in attracting overseas investors to the traditionally ultraconservative country.

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Fri 13 Oct 2017 / Africa

Six pillars of African growth

In the light of the post-2014 commodity cycle downturn, many African countries have prioritised initiatives to improve their economic governance, increase their fiscal sustainability, and diversify their economies. One essential consideration for the next stage of Africa’s development is the expansion of its financial markets, which will provide additional growth and funding opportunities to local businesses. A new OMFIF report launched today – the Barclays Africa Group Financial Markets Index 2017 – provides a valuable tool for tracking the development of financial markets across the continent.

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Wed 11 Oct 2017 / Africa

Barclays Africa Group Financial Markets Index 2017

Africa’s large, youthful and dynamic markets present opportunities for growth on the continent. However, foreign and local investment prospects are hampered by several factors, including underdeveloped financial markets and unclear legal and regulatory frameworks. These are some of the conclusions drawn from the Africa Financial Markets Index - a newly released index produced by think tank OMFIF and sponsored by Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL).

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Fri 19 May 2017 / Middle East

Oil exporters struggle to diversify

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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Fri 28 Apr 2017 / Latin America Caribbean

Brazil scandal paralyses reform agenda

The Brazilian Supreme Court is investigating more than 100 politicians for taking bribes from oil major Petrobras. The individuals involved include almost a third of the cabinet, the chief of staff to President Michel Temer, and every head of state going back to 1985. The scandal may paralyse Temer’s reform programme and halt the remarkable trajectory of the Brazilian equity market, which has risen by nearly 40% in the past year, writes David Smith. However, Temer’s allies suggest he is uniquely placed to take risks on reform.

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Wed 1 Feb 2017 / Asia Pacific

Thailand’s ambitious reforms

Thailand’s challenges are microeconomic in nature. A key growth engine in past decades has been productivity gains from structural transformation, whereby labour moves from low-productivity agriculture to high-productivity manufacturing and services. This has stalled, but there is great potential for Thailand to use its geographical advantage in the middle of the Greater Mekong subregion close to rapidly developing economies. The government recognises these priorities and is embarking on an ambitious reform agenda.

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Tue 21 Oct 2014 / Asia Pacific,North America,Latin America Caribbean,Middle East,Africa,Europe

Political consequences of the oil price fall

Oil-exporting countries have come to rely on revenues lifted ever higher by the rising oil price. Its fall since the summer is having political consequences from Scotland to South America, where it may trigger radical change.

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Mon 20 Oct 2014 / Middle East

Excess supply meets static demand

The oil price has fallen 25% since the summer, which ought to stimulate demand. But subsidies, consumer taxes and a structural decline for oil demand mitigate against this. Only a sustained Saudi output cut can break the trend – and this seems highly unlikely.

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