Spain at risk of a lost year

February 5, 2016

The country’s political parties still haven’t formed a government seven weeks after an inconclusive election. In the short term, it’s unlikely to have a big impact on the economy. But a prolonged stalemate could hurt confidence and sap momentum, as well as deter corporate deals.

Wall Street loses Iowa election kickoff

February 2, 2016

Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in a virtual tie in the first U.S. presidential balloting. The outcome partly reflects how bashing bankers resonates with voters. Goldman Sachs and its rivals can expect to keep hearing their names called.

Taiwan’s new president inherits old economic woes

January 18, 2016

The island’s fortunes are uncomfortably tied to the tech industry and China, both of which are weakening. The electoral triumph of opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen reflects deep distrust of the mainland. Yet Taiwan’s president needs to keep her giant neighbour onside.

Spanish election is vote for malaise

December 21, 2015

The ruling conservatives won the general election but fell short of outright victory. Other than a difficult grand coalition, there is no obvious alliance that would add up to a majority in Parliament. The uncertainty bodes ill for Spanish regulated stocks.

Far-right poll success jeopardises French reforms

December 7, 2015

Marine Le Pen’s National Front won more votes than mainstream rivals in the first round of regional elections. Anti-euro and anti-immigration, the party espouses protectionism and state intervention. Its rise may force the ruling Socialists to rethink economic reform plans.

Venezuela’s populist revolution runs out of gas

December 4, 2015

The Andean nation has the world’s biggest oil reserves but can’t get basic goods like milk and medicine into stores. Voters will punish the inept heirs of leftist caudillo Hugo Chavez in Sunday’s legislative elections, but no quick turnaround is coming. Default is a risk in 2016.

Argentina faces choice between magic and realism

November 20, 2015

Voters look likely to choose uncharismatic, pro-market Mauricio Macri as their next president in Sunday’s runoff election. Latin America’s No. 3 economy needs a dose of orthodox management after years of Kirchnerist magical thinking. But he could become unpopular very fast.

Catalonia’s risky secession threat may backfire

November 10, 2015

The Spanish region’s government has started a process of “disconnecting”, despite a doubtful mandate and a constitution that forbids a referendum. The plan is unlikely to win much international support, but may provoke Madrid into cutting off financing. Investors will steer well clear.

Modi chooses awkward time for UK rock star welcome

November 9, 2015

India’s prime minister will address a crowd of 60,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium this week. Courting the diaspora makes sense. But the rapturous welcome is out of tune with UK-India business ties and a big local election defeat at home, where Modi mania is definitely over.

Poland’s tilt to nationalism is bad for investment

October 26, 2015

The country’s eurosceptic Law and Justice party has claimed victory in the national election. A likely absolute majority would embolden it to take a more statist approach, including a new balance-sheet levy on banks. Poland’s long-running free-market success is now at risk.