These are exciting times for the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as the decline in oil revenues is forcing them to finally make dramatic changes to their oil-based economies.
Trends | Emerging Markets
Emerging markets sovereigns and corporates will need to refinance up to $2 trillion of debt coming due in the next five years, as a result of extravagant borrowing earlier this decade when commodity prices were soaring and cheap financing was readily available.
While Latin American economies are expected to shrink by roughly 1% this year, Mexico is slated to grow 2.2%.
Capital Markets | Regulation
“Nothing will make us deviate or change our course. We are not exiting our operations in any of our African markets,” declared Maria Ramos, CEO of Barclays Africa.
Milestones | Brazil
In this time of recession, Brazil’s economy is becoming more agribusiness-oriented. The sector generated 23% of Brazilian GDP last year, after 21.4% in 2014, and accounted for 46.3% of total exports.
By any measure QNB has major ambitions. It is the largest bank in Qatar and one of the leading financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa. It does not stop there. QNB has set its sights on becoming a global bank by 2030. QNB’s group chief executive discusses with Global Finance the regional downturn, success in Africa and its plans for a global presence.
The Middle East is no stranger to political and economic uncertainty, but simmering religious and political tensions and stubbornly low oil prices have dealt the region a difficult hand. The question now is: How will countries play in order to win?
Cuba: News that Anglo-Dutch consumer products company Unilever will return to Cuba to build a $35 million plant in the special development zone at the port of Mariel, about 40 kilometers west of Havana, is one of the clearest signs yet that the communist nation is taking a more pragmatic approach to foreign direct investment.
A new era kicked off on December 31, 2015, for the 10 countries that are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: The alliance launched the Asean Economic Community (AEC), a trade bloc aimed at creating a unified, cross-border market where labor, services and capital can flow without restrictions.
South Africa: After burning through two Finance ministers in 18 months—with the second having held the job for less than a week—South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, moved in mid-December to restore a measure of stability to the post.
The axe fell on Brazil heading into 2016 as it suffered a downgrade to junk status by Fitch Ratings, heightening the air of crisis as the beleaguered nation grapples with political turmoil and recession.
Corporate Governance | Management
Selling the assets could improve BTG’s net worth by 20 billion reais ($5 billion).