Articles List

Quick View: Trump Comments Brighten Resolution Prospects, But Obstacles Remain

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah met with US President Donald Trump in Washington on September 7 2017. Following the meeting, both leaders expressed optimism that the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf could be resolved 'quickly'. The emir pointed to Doha's willingness to negotiate with the Quartet (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) over its '13 demands' against Qatar. Trump urged unity within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and progress by its members in countering terrorism. While reiterating support for the emir's efforts to resolve the crisis, Trump also offered to mediate between the disputing parties himself.

Vietnam To Join Sugar Tax Push

Vietnam is set to join the list of Southeast Asian countries that are seeking to impose a sugar tax on soft drinks. The country has relatively low levels of obesity (traditionally the rationale behind a sugar tax) and so will be looking to stymie the threat of this disease, as we forecast demand for carbonated beverages to increase.

Electoral Uncertainty Poses Risk To Oil

The Kenyan political outlook has become highly uncertain, posing additional questions around the development of the country's large discovered oil resources, in the wake of the second presidential vote.

Catalan Independence Referendum To Go Ahead

The approval of an independence referendum in Catalonia by the regional parliament paves the way for the vote to take place on October 1. This is likely to result in a ‘Yes’ vote for independence, but secession will be blocked by the national government in Madrid.

Zika Vaccine Will Provide Case Study For Future Public-Private Partnerships

Sanofi Pasteur maintains that a public-private partnership approach over the Zika public health emergency was the right course to take, but, given the considerable opposition over the firm's exclusive licence to patents developed through public funds, this has proved to be a useful case study for managing such contracts in the future. Companies will need to be insulated from the additional costs in responding to public health emergencies, but it is equally important that public funds are seen to be utilised responsibly.

Positive Wealth Effects Supporting Brighter Sales Outlook

We are revising up our forecast for new passenger car sales in Hong Kong to growth of 10.7% in 2017, up from a contraction of 9.0% previously. This brighter outlook is largely driven by the positive wealth effects rising asset prices, particularly housing and equity, will have on car sales in the city-state.

Opportunities For EU Exporters Amid Booming Cheese Demand

Free trade agreements with major dairy exporting region and a growing consumer preference for premium dairy products means Korea offers an attractive dairy market for overseas producers over our forecast period to 2021. Furthermore, the outlook for domestic dairy production in Korea is subdued as raw milk prices remain high, and we expect overseas brands to increasingly take advantage, especially in the cheese segment where consumer demand is booming.

A SWF With Emerging Power 'Down Under'

Australia is home to one of the rising stars in the global sovereign wealth fund (SWF) world in the form of the Australian Government Future Fund - an independently managed fund within which the central government deposits its budget surplus for investment. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, the Future Fund is currently the world's seventeenth largest by assets under management, and rising. It currently manages USD106.3bn in assets, but after receiving assurances from the Australian government with regards to its growth trajectory (and importantly, no drawdowns) it is set to expand to over AUD200bn (USD158.09bn) over the next decade. Supported by a strong performance which saw the fund post returns of 8.7% for FY17 (and 2.9% for the most recent quarter), ahead of its target of 6.4%, we believe that the fund will continue to attract a growing level of interest from institutional investors and, subsequently, has supported the Australian government's effort to kick-start its economy at a time when growth is slowing.

The Long-Awaited Return Of GCC IPOs

Coming from a low base for activity following a difficult couple of years in the Middle East - due to the dramatic slump in crude oil prices, various political shockwaves, and a slowdown in economic growth - conditions for an uptick in IPO issuance among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are looking increasingly fertile once more. In a world where the GCC states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are adjusting to a new oil prices environment, we highlight that there is a strengthening cocktail of tailwinds which we believe will catalyse an uptick in first time share sales once more across the region.

Contested Border Ruling To Sour Relations With Croatia

BMI View: Threats to Slovenia's political stability remain marginal, though the ongoing border dispute with Croatia and the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections represent potential flashpoints in the coming year.

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