Iran’s Economy, Sanctions and key Scenarios

On October 7, I was pleased to join the Middle East Institute and Amwaj Media for a discussion about Iran's economy under sanctions and the trend ahead. The discussion coincided with stalled nuclear talks, as maximum pressure sanctions remain mostly in effect, Iran has built up additional nuclear capabilities. Read on or watch the video… Continue reading Iran’s Economy, Sanctions and key Scenarios

Some Questions About Evergrande, Chinese Real Estate and Global Growth

This week speculation about the possible default of Chinese property company Evergrande contributed to a notable if brief sell-off and much florrid commentary about whether this was a 'Lehman moment'. China-linked assets (especially Iron ore and AUD) sold off as did most risk assets, but the move was quickly reversed at a global level. These… Continue reading Some Questions About Evergrande, Chinese Real Estate and Global Growth

El Salvador, Bitcoin, CBDC and other digital assets

Today bitcoin officially joined the USD as legal tender in El Salvador. While some logistical issues have been addressed since the original announcement, I continue to be skeptical about the benefits and do not expect many others to follow the example. (see my CNBC podcast interview from a few months back). there's still a lot… Continue reading El Salvador, Bitcoin, CBDC and other digital assets

Market Exuberance: Thoughts on EM Credit, Oil and Consolidation

Risk assets  especially global equity and oil have been rallying of late and Vix has dropped. This piece looks at what has driven this optimism and relief rally, whether its sustainable and where some of the weak credit links remain. What’s driven this optimism? The best explanation is that signs of peaking or decline in… Continue reading Market Exuberance: Thoughts on EM Credit, Oil and Consolidation

EM Outlook: Latam Continues to Lag EM Peers

Note: Some of the thoughts expressed in this piece can be found in my November 26 interview with Sri Jegarajah and Nancy Hungerford of CNBC Asia Squawk Box. Global recession risks have abated, along with our forecasts, but underlying growth momentum is far from strong. This sluggish growth includes the engines of global growth in… Continue reading EM Outlook: Latam Continues to Lag EM Peers

Venezuela: Delineating Some “Complications” Ahead

At last count, over 48 countries have recognized the role of Acting President Juan Guaido of Venezuela, adding further pressure to the flailing regime of President Nicolas Maduro. U.S. sanctions further amplify Venezuela’s loss of market access, for key energy inputs, energy exports and credit for other goods. This piece surveys some of the economic… Continue reading Venezuela: Delineating Some “Complications” Ahead

Some Thoughts on the Russian Sale of U.S. Treasurys

Recent Russian reports provide more color on Russian official sector's move out of the the USD in Q2 of last year.  The big focus of the CBR reserves composition report  (see thread here) was the move into CNY assets, making Russia is now one of the largest holders of offshore CNY reserve assets. Despite the speeding up… Continue reading Some Thoughts on the Russian Sale of U.S. Treasurys

Iran Deal Response: More Unanswered Questions

Last week, I wrote about some of the key questions surrounding the U.S. withdrawal or rather violation of the JCPOA which focused on the responses of Iran (production, discounting, regional policy), Europe (blocking measures), and Asian buyers of Iranian goods. Since then the focus has been on the European counter response to the U.S. decision,… Continue reading Iran Deal Response: More Unanswered Questions

Iran Sanctions: Unanswered Questions

The U.S. has exited the Iran deal/become non-compliant and announced a timeline to reimpose the sanctions that had been suspended in 2015, as many people feared. Some key questions have been answered including the phase-in period, start of discussions with suppliers,  but many key ones remain unanswered. In this post, I’ll take a look at… Continue reading Iran Sanctions: Unanswered Questions