The global implications of the Venezuela Crisis

Jack Harding, Head of Political Risk   The crisis in Venezuela escalated over the weekend when embattled president Nicolás Maduro closed the country’s borders with Brazil and Colombia resulting in deadly clashes between security forces and protesters. On Thursday last week, Maduro had announced that he would be shutting the border with Brazil and, on Saturday, he allowed a deadline to pass for permitting international aid into Venezuela by instead ordering troops to block the Colombia-Venezuela border crossing at the…

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Business as usual until it’s not usual?

Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO The last week of February could be a defining week for global trade. In the US, Donald Trump has extended the deadline on the imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods. Meanwhile, in the UK, we could see the UK Parliament taking control of the Brexit process. At the end of last week, the US President, Donald Trump, signalled his willingness to delay the process of imposing tariffs. There is no “magical date”, he tweeted, and, a…

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All at sea? The UK’s strategic misstep in the South China Sea

Jack Harding, Head of Political Risk Philip Hammond’s scheduled trip to China to discuss future trading opportunities was called off last week after the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, suggested that the UK would send the largest of its warships, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, to the South China Sea. According to Williamson, the aircraft carrier would be equipped with F-35 fighter jets and sent to the region by 2021 to join US naval forces on freedom of navigation operations (“FONOPS”). China…

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Why the suspension of the INF Treaty matters to trade

Jack Harding, Head of Political Risk Global nuclear arms control was dealt a major blow in early February when both the US and Russia suspended their involvement in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, is an agreement between the US and Russia to abolish all ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 – 5,500 km (“shorter-range” to “intermediate-range” missiles). Donald Trump’s stated objective is for the…

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Uncertainty over trade, Brexit and wider geo-economic risks are starting to influence sentiment

Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO Two news stories last week illustrated just how fragile the world of trade is at the moment which will show themselves in the economic data this coming week. No, these were not Brexit or US-China trade stories; defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit strategy on the 14th February did not especially bother markets, nor did the extension of US-China trade talks in Beijing create a particular boost. The uncertainty around both are largely priced in at the moment…

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