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Brazil & Mexico Mid-Month CPI (Dec.)

The fall in Brazilian inflation, to 10.4% y/y, in mid-December is likely to be followed by further declines in the coming months. Inflation in Mexico edged up in the same period, to 7.45% y/y, but we also expect it to drop back early next year. Nonetheless, we think that central banks in both countries will maintain their current pace of tightening with rate hikes of 150bp and 50bp respectively in February.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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Latin America Economics Weekly

Chile’s new constitution, Brazil’s improving finances

Some of the doubts over Chile’s political system have eased after the Constitutional Convention completed a draft of the new charter, but political risks remain high for now, which may keep the peso on the backfoot in the coming months. Elsewhere, while the Brazilian government’s budget deficit has continued to narrow, we don’t think the country’s fiscal troubles are over for good. LatAm Drop-In (26th May, 10:00 ET/15:00 BST): Join our 20-minute briefing about Colombia’s election and other regional political and fiscal risks – including Lula vs Bolsonaro in October. Register here.

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The 0.8% q/q contraction in Chile’s GDP in Q1 suggests the economy is coming back down to earth after a stellar 2021, and there is a growing chance of a recession this year. Meanwhile, the current account deficit widened to a worryingly large 7.3% of GDP, making the economy especially vulnerable to a further tightening of external financial conditions.

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Latin America Economics Update

Colombia’s economy to beat expectations this year

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Middle East Chart Book

Gulf governments to keep fiscal policy tight

Governments across the Gulf have begun to unveil their 2022 budgets and tight fiscal policy remains the order of the day. Saudi Arabia outlined a 6% cut in spending next year that is expected to push the budget into surplus for the first since 2013. And while Oman and Qatar both project small increases in expenditure in 2022, these are set to be more than offset by stronger revenues. The emergence of the Omicron variant has weighed on oil prices in recent weeks and, if we’re right in expecting them to fall further next year, the window that had opened up to loosen the purse strings will close. Tight fiscal policy will hold back recoveries in non-oil sectors, and we suspect that Oman and Bahrain will have to rely on financial assistance from the rest of the Gulf to avoid devaluations and defaults.

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Africa Economics Update

Omicron lessons from South Africa

South Africa’s experience with Omicron so far offers tentative hope to other economies since it hasn’t pushed up the incidence of very severe illness in the same way that the Delta wave did. The economic impact will depend on how policymakers respond, which will vary across countries. In South Africa’s case, the government has avoided tighter restrictions and, for now, activity doesn’t seem to have been affected. Instead, the focus has been on encouraging people to get vaccinated, but take up hasn’t picked up by nearly as much as the government probably hoped for. In light of the broad interest in this issue, we are making this report available to all clients.

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Latin America Economics Weekly

Brazil’s inflation expectations, commodity exports

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